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Full text of "I.N.R.I. [microform] : a prisoner's story of the Cross"

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I. N. R. I. 



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I. N. R. I. 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 



•y 



PETER ROSEGGER 



TRANSLATRD BV ELIZABETH LEE 



V 



L 






TORONTO 

WILLIAM BRIGGS 

1905 



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( VK1»- 



880607 



PROLOGUE 



The difficult path which leads to the gardens where 
the waters of life sparkle, takes us first to a big city 
in which the hearts of men pulsate with feverish unrest. 

There is such a great crowd in the broad square 
in front of the law courts that the electric cars are 
forced to stop. Six or eight of them are standing in 
a row, and the police cannot break through the crowd. 
Every one is making for the law courts ; some hurry 
forward excitedly, others push their way through 
quietly, and fresh streams of people from the side 
streets are continually joining the rest. The public 
prosecutor is expected every moment to appear on 
the balcony and announce the verdict to the public. 

Every one was indulging in remarks about the 
prisoner who had wished to do so terrible a deed. 

" He is condemned, sure enough ! " shouted one 
man. "The like of him gets to heaven with a 
hempen cord ! " 

" Don't be silly," said another, with lofty superiority. 
" In half an hour at most he'll pass the gate a free 
man. Juries don't condemn the like of him." 

Many agreed with the first speaker, but more with 
the last. 

" Whoever believes that he'll be let off is a fool ! " 
shouted some one. " Just consider what he did, what 
he wished to do ! " 

2 



2 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



" He wanted to do a splendid thing ! " 
Passionate discussion and wagering began. It 
would have struck a keen observer that good broad- 
cloth expected condemnation, while fustian and rags 
eagerly desired acquittal. A big man of imposing 
presence asked in a loud tone, over the heads of the 
people, if any one would bet him ten ducats that the 
wretch would hang. 

A starved-looking little fellow declared uimself 
willing to take up the bet. The handsome man 
turned his head in its silk hat, and when he saw the 
starved, undersized creature, murmured sleepily, 
"He! he'll bet ten ducats with me! My dear sir,' 
you'd better go home to your mother and ask her to 
give you a couple of pennies." 

Laughter followed ; but it was interrupted. The 
crowd swayed suddenly, as when a gust of wind 
passes over the surface of water. A man appeared 
on the balcony of the law courts. He had a short, 
dark beard; his head with its high forehead was 
uncovered. He stepped forward ceremoniously to 
the railing, and raised his hand to enforce silence. 
And when the murmur of the crowd died away, he 
exclaimed in a thin voice, but pronouncing every 
syllable clearly, "The prisoner, Konrad Ferleitner, 
is found guilty by a majority of two-thirds of the 
jury, and in the name of his Majesty the King is 
condemned to die by hanging." 

He stood for a moment after making the announce- 
ment, and then went back into the house. A few 
isolated exclamations came from the crowd. 

" To make a martyr of him ! Enthusiasm is 
infectious ! " 

"An enthusiast! If he's an enthusiast, I'm a 
rascal ! " 



OF THE CROSS 



3 



" Why not ? " replied a shock-headed man with a 
laugh. 

" Move on ! " ordered the police, who were now 
reinforced by the military. The crowd yielded on all 
sides, and the tramrails were once more free. 

A few minutes later a closed carriage was driven 
along the same road. The glint of a bayonet could 
be seen through the window. The crowd flocked 
after the carriage, but it went so swiftly over the 
paved road that the dust flew up under the horses' 
hoofs, and' at length it vanished in the poplar avenue 
that led to the prison. Some of the people stopped, 
panting, and asked each other why they had run so 
fast. « It won't take place to-day. We shall see in 
the papers when it's to come off"." 

"Do you think so ? I tell you it's only for spedally 
invited and honoured guests! The times when 
executions were conducted in public are gone, my 
dear fellow. The people are kept out of the way." 

" Patience, my wise compeer I It 11 be a people's 
holiday when the hangman is hung." 

The crowd melted into the ordinary traffic of the 
street. 

A slender, stooping man sat handcuffed between 
two policemen in the carriage that rolled along the 
avenue. He breathed so heavily that his shoulders 
heaved up and down. He wore his black coat to- 
day, and white linen appeared at neck and sleeves. 
His hair was reddish brown, he had brushed it care- 
fully, and cheeks and chin were shaved smoothly. 
He had felt sure that the day would restore him 
to liberty, or promise it him at no very distant date. 
His pale face and sunken cheeks proclaimed him 
about forty, but he might have been younger. His 
blue eyes had a far-away, dreamy expression, but they 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



were now full of terror. His face would have been 
handsome had not the look of terror spoiled it. His 
fettered hands lay on his knees, which were closely 
pressed together, his fingers were intertwined, his 
head sunken so that his chin was driven into his 
chest : he looked an utterly broken man. He drew 
in his legs so that the policemen might be more 
comfortable. One of them glanced at him sideways, 
and wondered how this gentle creature could have 
committed such a crime. 

They drove alongside the wall of the large building, 
the gate of which was now opened. In the courtyard 
the poor sinner was taken out of the carriage and led 
through a second gate into an inner courtyard where 
his handcuffs were removed. He was led through 
vaulted corridors in which here and there small doors 
with barred windows might be seen. The dark pas- 
sage had many windings, and was lighted by an 
occasional lamp. The air was cold and damp. The 
openings high up in the wall, through which 
glimmered a pale daylight, became rarer, until 
at length it was as dark as the tomb. The new 
arrival was received by the gaoler, a man with bristly 
grey hair, a prominent forehead, and pronounced 
features which incessant ill-humour had twisted into 
a lasting grimace. Who would not be ill-humoured 
indeed, were he forced to spend a blameless life 
in a dungeon among thieves and murderers and 
even — worst of all — among those who had been 
foolishly led astray ? Directly he saw the tottering, 
shadowy figure of the prisoner come round the 
pillar, he knew the blow had fallen. Midnight 
had struck for the poor fellow. Annoyed that such 
people should let themselves be so stupidly taken by 
surprise, he had continually snubbed him harshly. 



OF THE CROSS 5 

To-day he accompanied him to his cell in silence, 
and when opening it avoided rattling the keys. But 
he could not help looking through the spyhole to 
see what the poor fellow would do. What he saw 
was the condemned man falling on to the brick floor 
and lying there motionless. The gaoler was alarmed, 
and opened the door again. So the man was clever 
enough to die quickly? That would be a mis- 
carriage! But the culprit moved slightly, and 
begged to be left alone. 

And he was alone, once again in this damp room 
with the wooden bench, the stravy mattress, the water- 
jug on a table — things which during the long period 
of probation he had gazed at a hundred times, think- 
ing of nothing but " They must acquit me." Out of 
the planks that propped up the straw mattress he 
iiad put together a kind of table, a work of which 
the gaoler disapproved, but he had not destroyed it. 
High up in the wall was a small barred window, 
through which mercifully came the reflection from an 
outer opposite wall, now lighted by the sun. The 
edge of a steep gabled roof and a chimney could be 
just seen through the window, and in between peeped 
a three-cornered piece of blue sky. That was the 
joy of the cell. Konrad did not know that he 
owed this room to special kindness. The scanty 
light from above had been a comfort, almc pro- 
mise, all the weary weeks : " They will send you a free 
man out into the sunshine ! " By slow degrees that 
hope was extinguished in his lonely soul. And to-day? 
The little bit of reflection was a mockery to him. 
He wanted no more twilight. Daylight was gone 
for ever— he longed for darkness. Night! night! 
Night would be so heavy and dark that he would not 
behold his misery, even inwardly. He could not 



6 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



think ; he felt stifled, giddy, as if some one had 
struck him on the head with a club. 

When the gaoler on his rounds peeped through the 
spy-hole again and saw the man still lying on the 
floor, he grew angry. He noisily opened the little 
door. "By Jove, are you still there? Number 19! 
Do you hear ? Is anything the matter ?" The last 
words were spoken almost gently; a stupid fellow 
might imagine that he was pitied. But that was not 
the case. As a man sows, he reaps. 

The prisoner stood up quickly and looked dis- 
tractedly about him. When he recognised the gaoler 
he felt for his hand. He grasped it firmly, and said 
hoarsely : " I want to ask something. Send me a 
priest." 

" Oh, at last I " grumbled the old man. " These 
atheists! In the end they crawl to the Cross." 

" I'm not an atheist," calmly replied the prisoner. 

"No? Well, it's all the same. You shall have 
a father-confessor." 

Konrad had not meant a confessor. To set himself 
right with God? That might come with time. But 
what he now most desired was a human being. No 
one e'se would come. No on - will have anything 
to do with a ruined man. Each man thanks 
God that he is not such a one. But the priest must 
come. 

In about half an hour the condemned man started, 
every sound at the door alarmed him — some one 
came. A monk quietly entered the cell. He slipped 
along in sandals. The dull light from the window 
showed c.n old man with a long, grey beard and 
cheerful-looking eyes. His gown of rough cloth was 
tied round the waist with a white cord, from which a 
rosary hung. He greeted the prisoner, reaching for 



OF THE CROSS 



his hand : " May I say good evening ? I should like 
to, if I may." 

" I sent for you, Father. I don't know if you are 
aware how things are with me," said Konrad. 

" Yes, I know, I know. But the Lord is nearer to 
you to-day than He was yesterday," replied the 
monk. 

" I have many things to say," said Konrad, hesi- 
tatingly. " But I don't want to confess. I want a 
man to talk to." 

"You want to ease your heart, my poor friend," 
said the monk. 

" You come to me because it's your duty," returned 
Konrad. " It's not pleasant. You have to comfort 
us, and don't know how to do it. There's nothing 
left for me." 

" Don't speak like that," said the Father. " If I 
understand rightly, you have not summoned me as 
a confessor. Only as a man, isn't that it? And I 
come willingly as such. I can't convert you. You 
must convert yourself. Imagine me to be a brother 
whom you haven't seen for a long tirre. And 
now he comes and finds you here, anc well-nigh 
weeping asks you how such a thing couid have 
happened," 

The prisoner sat down on the bench, folded his 
hands, and bent his head and murmured: "I had 
a brother. If he had lived I should not be here. He 
was older than I." 

" Have you no other relatives ? " asked the monk. 

" My parents died before I was twelve years old. 
Quickly, one after the other. My father could not 
survive my mother. My mother — a poor, good 
woman; always cheerful, pious. In the village 
just outside. No one could have had a happier 



8 



A PRISONERS STORY 



It; 



childhocxi. Ah ! forgive me " His words seemed 

to stick in his throat. 

" Compose yourself ! " counselled the priest. " Keep 
your childhood in your memory ! It is a light in such 
days." 

"It is over," said Konrad, controlling his sobs. 
" Father, that memor>' does not comfort me; it accuses 
me more heavily. How can such misfortune come 
from such blessing? If only I dared kneel now 
before my God— and thank Him that she did not 
live to see this day." 

"Well, well!" said the Father. "Other mothers 
had different experiences with other sons." 

" I would sacrifice (very thing too for the sake of 
our dear Lady," muttered Konrad. 

"That's right," returned the Father. "Now tell 
me more. Quite young, then, you lived among 
strangers, eh ? " 

He uttered confusedly : " After the deaths of my 
father and mother I was apprenticed. To a joiner. 
That was a splendid time. Only I read a great deal 
too much to please the master— all sorts of things, and 
dreamed about them. And I didn't wish to do any- 
thing wrong, at least so I imagined. The master 
called me a stupid visionary, and gave me the sack. 
Then came a period of wandering — Munich, Cologne, 
Hamburg. I was two years with a master at 
Coloprne. If only I had stayed with him ! He didn't 
want to let me go— and there was a daughter. Then 
to Hamburg. That was bad luck. I was introduced 
into a Society for the protection of the people against 
traitors. To be a saviour, to risk one's life! It 
came to me very slowly, quite gradually, what was 
the misery of living under such tyranny. When 
a boy I once killed a dog that bit some poor people's 



OF THE CROSS 







children in the street. A dog belonging to gentlefolk! 
I was whipped, but it scarcely hurt— there v/as always 
in my mit.d : 'You freed them from the beast !' And I 
felt just the same about the Society. I can't tell you 
what went on in me. I'm all bewiHered. Everything 
was laid bare at the trial, the whole horrible story. 
Only I said yes with hundreds of others, I said it and 
thought : it won't come to me. And it did come to 
me, as if our Lord had not wished it otherwise. To 
me, the lot fell to me, when we drew." 

"I know the stoiy, my poor fellow," said the 
monk. 

" I don't," retorted Konrad. " From the moment 
they took the revol>;er out of my hand everything 
has been dark. J have known nothing. I only 
heard to-day that he lives. And they told me " 

" What did they tell you ? " 

" That I must die." Then violently addressing the 
priest : " It was a misfortune. Is it really so great a 
crime ? Tell me." 

" I don't think I need tell you that." 

"Very well, then. So it serves me right. I desired 
to do the deed, and they say that's the same as the 
accomplishment of it. Quite correct. Isn't it ' A life 
for a life'? It is written so in the Bible. Just that, 
no more. They must take mine. But — they must 
do it unexpectedly, suddenly. Just as I meant to do 
to him. Otherwise it won't be fair. Tell me, holy 
Father, is it cowardly to be so terrified? I am so 
terrified— of what is before me. There's nothing 
about this terror of death in the Scriptures. Those 
who settled my fate to-day looked like men. Then 
they ought to know that they are <;xecuting me a 
thousand times, not once. Why do i still live, I who 
was slain three hours ago 1 Quick ! From behind ! 



OBBS 



10 



A PRISONERS STORY 






* 

I 



If only they were so merciful I One of them said 
to-day it was my duty to die. My God ! I think I 
have the right to die, and they're the criminals ! They 
haven't secured me my rights at on-e ! It would have 
been over by now. O God, my God, if only it were 
over I " 

So he raged on, wringing his hands, groaning under 
the torture. Suddenly his face became deathly white 
and his features stiffened as if his heart had ceasrd 
beating. 

"Poor fellow," said the priest, putting his arm 
round his neck and drawing his head down on his 
breast. " You mustn't talk like that. Think, if we've 
been sinners all our lives, oughtn't we to spend a few 
days in repenting? Tell me, brother, don't you 
desire the consolations of religion ? " 

•• Indeed I do," stammered the poor sinner. " And 
s. I asked " 

" You see, I am ready." 

" And I also want the Gospels, if I may be allowed 
the book." 

The monk looked at him, then demanded quietly : 
" You want the New Testament ? " 

" I should like to read in it. My mother had one 
and used to read it aloud and explain it. It 
would give me a home-like feeling if I could read in 
it now." 

The Father replied : " I'll tell you something, my 
dear friend. The Gospel is a very good book, not in 
vain is it called the glad tidings." 

" My God! yes; what do I need more sorely now 
than glad tidings ? " agreed Konrad. 

" Of course. But the book's not an easy one. Out 
of ten readers there's hardly one who understands it. 
And even he doesn't really understand it. lis too 



OF THE CROSS 



11 



profound, I might say, too divine a book ; as they 
say, seven times sealed. Therefore it must be 
explained by experts. I will willingly go through 
certain part^ ^. it with you occasionally, but I shall 
give ycu something else for your edification, from 
which you will derive comfort and peace." 

Konrad covered his face with his hands, and said, 
almost inaudibly: "The Gospel is what I should have 
liked best." 

And then the monk said gravely : " My friend, you 
are the sick man and I am the physician. And the 
physician knows best what will do the sick man 
good. You should also prepare yourself for taking 
the Sacrament." 

As the poor sinner said no more, the priest spoke a 
few kind words and left him. An hour later the 
gaoler brought him a parcel of books. " The holy 
brother sends them so that you can amuse yourself 
a little." 

Amusement ! It was a cruel joke. Konrad gave a 
shrill laugh. It was the laugh of a despairing man 
who cannot shut out the vision of his last journey, 
which became more hideous every moment. What 
did the Father send? Simple prayer-books and 
religious manuals. Book-markers were placed to 
show the passages that applied especially to the 
penitent and the dying man, and also prayers for 
poor souls in purgatory. The soul-physician, all 
unacquainted with souls, sent the inconsolable man 
new anguish of death instead of life. Konrad searched 
for the bread he needed, turned over the leaves of the 
books, began to i . :e and there, but always put 

them down sadly. ' j more eagerly did he exercise 
his memory in order to recall the pictures of his 
childhood. His mother, who had been dead many 



12 



A PRISONER'S STORY 






^T,nl "'«,S»"<'"''» life on earth-brought 
raged m despair, so now beautiful shadow, out of the 

Ced-'ct't:: ^'•"- -' '- °^ "''-p''- 

contrati'.^",!:----^^^^ 

hornd terror, which made hin, shiver in all hsTmbs 

j^t a? tit r; '^^'■""'■"^- ^"^y ■■" «•"= ■"°"4! 

wa d" col rf""'." •"= '"'"' °"^" heard-the 
warders come The wmdow showed only darkness 

^t^Z bt""',^ «■— nered bit of sky, thert 

UD lo iL . Y- "°u """ " "" °"'«' "'ghts. It sailed 
up to the crack m the roof and shone down throuch 
the wmdow m kindly fashion. His eye was rivetfd 
walls w'b"' "' i'^'" """' " ^-'^hed beh,"d tte 
r^» ^ • .u^"/' '*"^* ''"y ^»™«i. and the key 
t«mbt'" r,' '^°°'' ^°"'^'' '''■"'' «"d feet began to 
bZu ;, " """ """ eaoler who brought him a 
bundle of coarse cotton clothing. 

When Konrad asked in a dull voice if it was his 
gallows dress, the old man answered roughly "What 

ctth^:" ''*""'"^ ^''°"" '""' ™ y°" house 

h Ji"^ "T'"^. '''^' "P '■' *^ Sa°l". clasped his 

th^n^; " Tv"" ^ " °"'y °"^ ""'"£• 'f J knewiwhen 
when? This suspense is unt .arable I" 

man^''iMT ^7'^',^ '"' """ """^"^ 'he old 
qu'cklv ^yj^"/''^""^' *« don't do things so 
^^u 7\ . decision was only made yesterdav 
Why! they haven't yet settled about the ba^et" 



OP THE CROSS 



18 



••Thcbanqutt!" 

"The bill of fare— don't you understand? No 
orders have come yet. You're safe for twenty-four 
hours. But if there's anything you'd like to eat— 
I'll make an exception for once. And now, get on 
with your toilet! You can will a y your own 
things as you please," he pointed to his clothes. 
" Have you any one ? No? Well, I know some poor 
people. But get on, get on. The hot season is 
coming on, and cotton isn't bad wear then." 

The rough gaoler's good-humoured chatter was 
particularly distasteful to the poor man. To be 
snubbed and railed at would have pointed to a long 
life to come, one not to be measured by hours. Did 
he know? And was he silent out of pity? or was it 
malice? Before, the old man had been easily moved 
to anger, and when heated would swing his arms 
up and down and plainly threaten to have the 
obstinate convict sent off. Now there was no 
more grim humour nor raginp round. He looked 
at the poor sinner, sunk iu deep gloom, with a sad 
calmness. "Poor devil!" Suddenly it was too 
much for him, and he broke out violently: "But 
come now! You must have known it. Be sen- 
sibly; I can't stand this misery. Dying is not easy, 
of course ; you should be glad that there's some one 
by to help. And then— who knows whether you 
won't live after all. Do be sensible ! " 

When at last deep silence again gathered round 
him, the prisoner tried his books afresh. The Father 
had provided for a varied taste. The " Devotion to 
the Holy Rosary," the "Prayers to the Virgin's 
Heart," "Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell," the 
" Life of St. Theresa," " The Seven Bolts of Heaven," 
and " Prayers of Intercession for Souls in Distress" 



t 



14 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



le t hT °! edification! The joiner's appren- 
which he had 1 ^''' ""l"*'" "°' "-y 'he books 

wh:;\?hrarhotTh^- r/^--f- 

no*n,, besides. I^fhadThouS^aSe'^tM'^' 
but he could not be clear about anvthin? Th.f 
not generally possible, he had read in' o^"e"of the booT 
and the statement pacified him. He had read .n 

Childhood hut it^ad t ^ot deeZ ^tlhit 

lurch He turned over the pages he rwH .Z 
prayed and sought, and found notWng to refeve hi^ 
need D.scouraged, he pushed the bLL° aty frot 

vivid and clelr'af '""T' ''°""'' "^^ ^ "--">• 

dark^rnttindhrhrdrSswt'^H;;'rH 

about ajnid coid dan,p rocks.'andTou.d V: t? 
path. Then h,s fingers felt a thread; he seird it 
and .t gu,dedhim through the darl<ness The tnd 
grew bnghter and brighter; the thread brought hto 

dd .^'hl 7T^ "'"'"" ''"'y' '° *- P'ace with th" 

amidst tt r::- '° *"' '"''"''' ''°"'<= which stood 
amidst he fru.t-trees, and the thread to which his 

whSrifhadrer"'""^^ '^^ "'■" '"'° *-°- 

wnere It had been spun from his mother's distaff 

p'^e tr at si tinS fnd '^'f ^^^ 
directiy the boy stood \T,.rL'll.^^\T, 






OF THE CROSS 15 

of the Saviour. He listened to her and was a 
happy child. That was his dream. And when 
he awoke m the prison cell, his mother's gentle voice 
stil sounded in his ears : " My child, you must cling 
to Jesus." * 

Konrad was taken every day for half an hour into the 
dirty and sunless courtyard. But he dreaded that 
halt hour It stirred a vain longing for light. And 
the rough and insolent fellow-prisoners with whom 
he was brought in contact ! He preferred to be alone 
in his quiet cell. 

During his imprisonment he had often asked for 
work but was always informed that nothing of the 
sort had been provided for by the authorities. 
Besides-work was an honourable thing, and it must 
, first be proved that he was worthy of it. But now it 
was not a tinie for work, rather a time for preparation. 
What could he do in order to get through these days? 
Or what could he do in order to keep the days from 
flying so quickly ? Look how a flash of lightning 
seems sometimes to pass over the floor. Then it is 
gone again. High up in the opposite wall, on which 
the sun sometimes shone, was a casement window, 
and Its glass doors, swayed by the breeze, were re- 
fleeted in the prison. Konrad was terrified by these 
sparks from heaven, he would grope on the ground 
as if for a gold piece that had rolled away 

Then came visitors, unexpected, alarming visitors ! 
The judges stiff" figure and serious face appeared in 
company with the gaoler. 

Konrad felt stunned, and could only think • " The 
hour has come!" The man had pronounced his 
sentence as coldly and unfeelingly as if he had been 
a machine which, when its keys are pressed, gives 



16 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



forth sounds like words Ti,« • j 

gaoler to withdraw Thl m "'"'^^^ ""'^^'^^ ^^^ 

could that mean ? ThI V u"!f " hesitated-what 

before the r:;:„L^7d"^r^;^^^^ 

darkness. Then he s./l°r' ^^^^"^^^"^ed to the 
I have come to ask von /".^^^V '^°"^"^ ^^^^^'^ner. 
for ? " ^''^ >^°" ^^ there's anything you wish 

irregular ntert lis ro. ^ T^ '^°"^^^ ^^rokes at 

violfnt wafhi^^Sn Wh ''" '''''' '^ 
stuttered forth words h^f .u • ! P°°' ^'"^^"'^ 
understand. ^^' '^^ J"^g^ co"W , . 

" Compose yourself ' " 
to the judge that fhl ^ f, prisoner, it occurred 

won't come' o f" at aT 7 " ^''' .f P^*''?^ " 
petition for mercy hal ^l f^ '^" y°" "''»* ^ 

light showed howtefrfhl, , Z^^""- ^"^ *e dim 
were. " Mercy"^. he mtf / • " '""''"" "'^ ^"^^s 
"Mercy for me? Th I'' '" ^"PP^^^^d tones. 

„^fj me? Then-why did you condemn 

delltu'em^tmedT:? '° P"^^'^ ">= i"d^e. The 
innoclnt. " You we"e hr""'"''?/" *''"'' •"'"'^If 

ht nTchoice ••" *'' ''^ ^"'«^ ""'^' -""-" ; t 



OF THE CROSS 17 

"For mercy? The king?" asked Konrad, who 
bench for h.s legs would scarcely support him. 

"Your whnrT'"- '''"'"'■'^ ''" '•^P''^^ '^^ J"dge. 
inTo th^K • ^^^"-'"f, P^°^^^ that you were inveigled 
nto the busmess. We want nothing further. You 
see Ferleitner that evil cannot be eradicated from the 
world with evil. To f5ght evil with evil only incrlses 
Its power. But a large heart can pardon suTa deed 
or purpose. Let us hope meanwhile that our king 
possesses one The Chancellor is getting better 

folded sheet then an inkpot and a pen. Konrad bent 
over the table and groaned while signing his name 

Ah he said, ",f only I could be free again' 
I should never think of such things again. The 
world could go on as it pleased. I should do my 
work and iiot trouble about anything else. Only" 

foritV':f '' '''^'^' uncertainly, "only I shall n^^t 
forget God again." 

"There is naturally only a moderate chance," said 
lith^ thf wh^til"^^ '''-'' -'-' ^^ '^^ — d 

But. my God! how is it to be borne? If this 
ime IS lengthened, how is it to be borne? Ths 
terrible suspense ! " 
'• It can be a time of hope," said the judge. 
But how long will it last?" asked Konrad. 
Ihe judge shrugged his shoulders. " It may last 
three weeks, but it might last double that time" 

Konrad asked confidingly : "Do you think, sir 
hat a man can hold out?-with the terror of death 
lasting for weeks?" 

" Haven't you just a little confidence ? " asked the 

3 



18 



A PRISONERS STORY 



? 



innf " "r"\^« ^" to endure uncertainty P-the 
judge as well as the condemned man ? " 

How am I to employ myself all the dreadful time? 
Its bemg buried alive." 

"Unhappily it's not in my power to give you a 
h^ m' '°°"'' *^°"Sh y°" haven't the worst cell in the 
bm dmg But perhaps you have some other desire 

sa.^ the" j'udgr '''• '^^^' °"^ '"'""''y' ^-^^^^"-•" 
Therewith he folded the paper, and put the writing 
materials into his coat pocket Konrad followed his 
proceedmgs with his eyes. He could not compre- 
hend how this dread personage came to speak to him 
m so kindly a fashion. "As to the room." he said. 
It s all I need— when you've nothing to do, and are 
not hkely to have anything to do, what can a man 
want ? If a man isn't free, nothing else matters, 
iiut one thing— I have one request, sir." 

" "^hj," ^speak it." said the judge, and holding 
Konrad s hand firmly in his. broke out with : " Don't 
you see. it's cruel to think, to believe, that we must 
be the personal enemies of all whom we're obliged to 
condemn. You think the proceedings in courl were 
so callous, you ve no idea how we actually feel about 
the business. It is not only the accused who passes 
sleepless n.ghts-the judge, too. knows them We 
lawyers-outside our profession-have founded an 
association to support and encourage those we are 
obliged to pronounce guilty, that they may not sink 
dow^ uncomforted. So. my dear Feileitner, you may 
trus me that, as far as I can. I will alleWate you^ 
position. ' 

Then Konrad, looking down on the floor, said • « I 
should like to have writing materials." 



/ 



OP THK CROSS 19 

;; You want to write ? " asked the judge. 

education." J"^' a^ tliey came. I had little 

judg?" "'* '° ""■'" '° y°"' '■"«"ds? " inquired the 

;; Or to draw up a plea of justification ? •• 

" Or an account of your life ? " 

" No, not that either. My life has nnf h. j 

stated Konrad ' ''" ""*^ ^°"^^^^'"g ^^^e," 

" An^° "l^'^ff ^^''^ """^'"^ materials." said the judge 

And IS there anything else? A «,« "= J"age. 

able bed?" ^ ^ "^^''^ comfort- 

Ha:d^^d*r troni^'lhit*:!::;- "^'' ^^ ■"' '=• "^ 

intix't id r]:t' ''" '^""'^ "^^' ^"-^ ^'^^" ' ■■ 

now'^r"''''' "'"^^^ "^''"'"2 '"d ">i"king, 'Now 
now, they re coming'' I toll ,r^., • ' 

sleep well," replied Konrad '^°"' '"• ^°" <'°"'« 
leitner°"'Ld'!L'^T''"^ ^"""'^'^'f ""■' 'J'^^. Fer- 

time, he continued plavfullv '<,-., o . "^^^ tne 

condemnat-,. by some'gtutra ; 4rr?n'oS 
imes great minds often did it" m olden 

" ' ""■' ""'^ « g--^^' work," answered Konrad. 



20 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



i . 



i 



r 



" And I've nothing to avenge. I deserve death. But 
it's this waiting for it. The torments of hell cannot 
be worse." 

" We've nothing to do with hell. We've merely to 
think of the purgatory in which we are placed. Let 
heaven, as they say, follow. Haven't you any business 
to arrange? Nothing to settle for any one?" asked 
the judge ? 
" No one, no one I " Konrad assured him. 
" That's a piece of luck that many of your comrades 
in misfortune would envy you. A man can settle 
things easily for himself alone. If it's any consola- 
tion, Ferleitner, I may tell you that we don't regard 
you as a scoundrel, only as a poor creature who has 
been led astray. Now that's enough for the present. 
Your modest request shall be granted at once." 

After this remarkable conversation with the poor 
sinner, the judge left the cell. He was not satisfied. 
Had he not listened enough, or had he spoken too 
much ? How could so childlike a creature take an 
oath to commit murder ? In the corridor he spoke 
seriously to the gaoler. 

" I must point out to you that the man is very ill 
Don't treat him harshly." 
The old man was annoyed, 

" I beg your pardon, sir ! To treat a poor devil 
like that harshly ! If you pity him, why were you so 
rough with him?" He rubbed a lamp-glass with a 
coarse rag in order to get the black off. " '1 o die by 
hanging.' Even said as gently as that, it hurts more 
taan when we roundly abuse the people, and yet that's 
at once taken amiss. Only to prove it. 111! Of 
course he's ill, poor devil. I am only surprised the 
doctors haven't been to cure him. I suppose he's 
well enough to be hanged ? " 



OF THE CROSS 



21 



" That will do, Trapser." 

The gaoler put down his work, stood up straight 
.w military fashion, and said : « Sir, I beg to resign 
my post." ** 

•' What ! " exclaimed the judge, " you wish to go ? " 
" I respectfully hand in my resignation." He stood 
up straight as a dart. "Do you know, I've ^ot 
accustomed to most things here in six-and-twenty 
years. I've seen seventeen hanged— just seventeen, 
sir. There ought to have been twenty-four, but seven 
were granted imprisonment for life. They're still 
undergoing that mercy. Do you know, sir, it's a miser- 
able calling! But as to that Ferleitner, I never afore 
saw anything like him. What has he done, I ask 
you ? He's done nothing. You see we've had quite 
different gallows-birds here. A speculator who had 
ruined six families and driven the seventh to suicide 
—eight months. A student with two duel murders 
on his conscience— six months. But he is there now 
—because he's done nothing, it seems to me. Well 
the long and the short of it is, it horrifies me." 

"Always the same in temper and disposition, you 
old bear ! God keep you ! " And then a kindly 'tap 
on the shoulder. The attempt at resignation was 
again met with a refusal. The judge formally put it 
aside. But the old man growled on for a long time 
" Old bear I old bear ! That's his whole stock of wit 
every time. I'll show him the old bear ! Good God ' 
that's how things are with us I " He whistled and 
made a harsh noise with his bunch of keys so that the 
prisoners could make their preparations before he 
performed his duty of looking through the spyhole to 
see how his charges were spending their time. Then 
he went and procured a big bottle of ink and a packet 
of foolscap paper for Number 19. 



i 



M 



■Ul 



ffl 



r -:. 



28 A PRISONER'S STORY 

"Is that enough? "he asked. 

no7^"\^°"' '^f^ ^°"-'" '^'^ Ferleitner;"only 
now I want a pen." •'^ 

thin?*" «°' "'Ku'^"" '"■ "°- W^ ''"°«' 'hat sort of 
1^ f with a"rt' "°T '" ^"'"^ « ^"•''l*'' him- 

"?hL'r„"V™">r"-''°"' ' P^n," returned Konrad. 

oen-th^^M "^y '"■''"f' ' ""■' '« y°" have a 
pen, the old man assured him. 

"The judge gave me permission to have one' 
Konrad remonstrated modestly. 

Then the old man exclaimed afresh: "Do you 
know this judge, he just comes up as far as tWs" 
and he placed his hand on a level with hi chb 
He crumbles everything up and then we're to spo"n 
t out. Then he muttered indistinctly in his beard 

before they hang him, it's a-a-good God > I S 
properly-I can't find any more fine words! If a 
man puts a knife into himself, no wonder i " 

I shan't kill myself," said Konrad quietly •■ Thev 
say I may put my hopes in the king " ^ 

" And you want to write to him ? That won't helo 
much, but you can do it if you like; there" ttae 
For once ..'s a good thing that our offici;is are so ow 
If .ts any comfort to you, you may know that thev 
wrong me, too. They won't accept my resLnatioT 
Yes, that^s how it is with us," concluded Z dd ^an' 
Then he went and brought a pot with rusty S 
pens. But don't you spoil them ! " For they were 
the very pens with which death-wa -,nts hTJ T 
signed-the old man had a collecHo,. " such th^'" 
and hoped to sell it to a rich Engh'^man. ■ DoS 
your honour require anything else?" With ahost 



OF THE CROSS 



23 



mocking words he left the cell and raged and cursed 
all along the corridor. The prisoners thought he was 
cursing them. 

The judge, his hands behind his back, walked up 
and down his large study. What a cursed critical 
case! If the Chancellor had not been given up by 
the doctors on the day of the trial, the sentence would 
have been different. The petition for mercy I Would 
it have any result except that of prolonging the poor 
man's torture ? Whether in the end it would not have 

been better ? Everything would have been over 

then. An old official came out of the adjoining room 
and laid a bundle of papers on the table. 

"One moment. Has the petition for mercy been sent 
to His Majesty ? " 

" It has, sir." 

" What's your opinion ? " asked the judge. 

The counsellor raised his shoulders and let them 
fall again. 

Konrad cowered down and stared at the table. 
On it lay everything— paper, ink, pens. What should 
he write ? He might describe his sadness, but how 
did a man begin to do that ? He lifted up his face as 
if searching for something. His glance fell through 
the window on to the wall, the upper part of which 
was lighted by the evening sun. The mountain tops 
glowed like that. Ah, world, beautiful world ! Still 
three weeks. Or double that time. Then— the 
very beating of his heart hurt him ; his temple 
throbbed as though struck by a hammer. For 
he always thought of the one thing— and it sud- 
denly flashed into his mind— there were other 
executioners! His supper was there— a tin can with 



i tii'TW I 



24 



A PRISONERS STORY 



night anU the star ,vas again visible- in the scraoTf 

aL^tTtetenT/rthfr ''^"'"^ ^^^^^ 
vanished ThI T ^, ^^"^ "'"'"^^^ ""til it 

Andthtwa?c: ,e t n7' A^ntl-t ZT'" l^^' 
that you petitioned the king «„' iT"^ tl ""'^ '"' 
mercy, then the sun shines .'.""[.",'<'"£ C""«» 
him by the md.JLTV' V l^m^ness shown 

but th"^ ast ofV7LZ'f"u '"'"' '^ ""'<=■ 
"Hopeless I" ^^^ "'""^'"^ "^^ "'^^ys. 

^o coml^unfon AndXHvir' " ^"^ "«' '° «° 

he went up to ^^so^Z-IZTZ^^'^':^": 

bring you a kind friend " Conrad, I 

was turned towards Konrad ^ ""* 

heaTttast,ror wtd;; "te '■" t ."T'"^ "■'^ 
heah-ng. He Ju.;°d"''bmhj;\roVtV™"t' 
Sav,our, I will never more leave you • "^ 

suld^Lme^Sto'^h'^' "S'"'^ '"'=" -"-•->- 
in the sLi:r Hln^uldlk^hi^r.'r'-'^';^ "'""^^ 

Saviour. He woul/w'^erL'^Zut^V":: 
a proper htera^- wo.. • he could not do £. he had 



II 



OP THE CROSS K 

the cell """h ^,*"'°"[ '° 'h»' h' "ight have a friend in 
f„l \. '" '^'■'"'P' ■"' '"«>" would vanish. In 
former days it had pleased him, so to speak to 
vvrue away an anxiety from his heart, notritters 
to others, but only for himself. Man; thinR, w fch 
hZT ''T '° ■"'"• ''■''■^'^ he found ?ncompre- 

a su^eH . ' '"';'' ?"■ '" """ ™e"c pictures almost 
assumed corporeal shape. He had in that fashion 

h s win r"^ ~"'"''" ""^ ""^"y companions dur ng 
his wandenngs m strange lands when he was afraid 

ttri„'"M"'r.^"'' ^""'ecl condition hetvould 
try to mvite the Saviour into the poor sinner's ce I 

a^r::?/ h'^'^.r^J" •" ''°^^' ".ust evoke 
all out of h,mself. He would venture to implore 
the Lord Jesus until He came, using his childish 
memones, the remains of his school learning the 

Br rril ■"' ''"''"'■ ""'• *•»- ="'• h'-^ -'"" ' 
And now the condemned man began to write a 
book m so far as it was possible to him. At first his 
throTl^"'' '^°""''''' '"'^ "2"^'= ^^'^ disconnected 
often tar^"^' '"f ""^ P^"''"' ^""--"t -h ch 

beatino Th .'' '" ^^"°P ""<^ ^'^ •>=«' ^top 
beating. Then he cowered in the corner and went 

and groaned and struggled in vain with the de^'re 

for mortal life. When he succeeded in coltoin ' Ws 

thoughts again, and he took up his pen afresh he 

gradually regained calm, and each time ft lastedbnger 

And It happened ihat he often wrote for hours af a 

sketch, that his cheeks began to glow and h s Is 

Suddenly he would awake from his visions and find 



*— * --B^iilfii ,^^ 



20 A PRISONERS 8T0BY OP THE CROSS 

WmMlf in his prison cell, and sadness overcame him, 
but ,e was no long.r a falling into the pit of hell Te 
was s rong enough to «.ve himself on his iZ"d of 

no^ ..r-r"^; ^"t -^ ^' """= ""<■ "">»<=• He d°d 
not ask If ,t was the Saviour of the books. It was hi, 

cou'rL" ';"«'' '",'>■■"'• '"e only Saviour who 
could redeem him. And so there was accomplished in 
«^.s poor sinner on a small .scale what was accom" 
plished among the nations on a large scale.- if t was 

S^liouTTn '"t '"''°"-' /"- - Saviour, it was The 
Saviour in whom men believed become historical 
since he affected the world's history through the hearts 
of men. He whom the books present may not be for al 
men; He who lives in men's hearts is for all. Tha 
■s the secret of the Saviour's undying power : He is 
for each man just what that man needs.*^ We read i" 

f„H ? TJ' *''*' ^""' 'PP'"*^ »' different times 
and to different men in different forms. That shouM 

ul "T'^S l" "».to let every man have his own 

/tT;he^:ht"j!s::."''='''«j--^=--^d-t. 

It often happened that during the prisoner's com- 
position and writing, a wider, softer light from the 
window spread through the cell, flickered oveT the 

on the white paper. And so light even entered the 
th"etri:ri,eart ""'"^'^'"^ """'' "^'^ »'-<' 

rJ,!'^^ !?"'," '"" ""'^ °^ ""^ "'"«"S- Directly he 
rattled his keys, it was hidden under the sheet-just 
as children hide their treasures from intrusive eyes 
When five or six weeks had gone by, hundreds of 
written sheets lay there. ""areas ot 

Konrad placed them in a cover and wrote on it • 

I.N.R.I. 



CHAPTER I 



When darkness covers the world men look gladly 
towards the east. There hght dawns. All lights 
come from out of the east. And the races of men are 
said to have come hither from that quarter. There is 
an ancient book, in which is written the beginning 
of thmgs and of men. The book came from the 
nation of the Jews, and the old Jews were called 
the people of God. for they recognised only one 
eternal God. And great men and holy prophets 
arose m that nation. The greatest of them was nLed 
Moses, and it is written that he it was who brought 
down to men tne Ten Corr.nandments. But the Jews 
fell on ev. times, they sank lower and lower and 
were heavily oppressed by stronger nations. Like 
us. they suffered poverty and curses and despair, and 
this lasted for a thousand years and more. Prophets 
appeared from time to time, and with words of 
mercy announced that a Saviour would come to lead 
the Jews mto the kingdom of glory. For that 
baviour they waited many hundreds of years. Often- 
times one would appear whom they took for Him 
but they were deceived. And when at last the real 
Saviour, the real, mighty Saviour appeared. 'I ey did 
not recognise Him. For He was different i. ..n what 
they had imagined. 

Shall I try to tell how it happened, just as mv 
mother used to tell me, her little boy, the story on 



28 



t 



V" 



SI 



i: 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



Lord comes IhaP ^""t " ""'"■■^'" "^f"^^ *- 
search !n ^ ,' "''° ="" "'■'"'out learnfne 

th:; ha : 7jz •:• r si'"" ir; '"i ^^^^-"'' 

the wear and ear o? Z ^°'?"'\^''' ^een lost in 
grown so dark vv H? °''''^^' ""'' y^' =''"« ''' '^s 

shines forth on l^,7eh nLT"''""'' """^^ °"'' '"" 

".-.ht , Shan V;^;;o^;^rh:r«Turrr r ^ 
eSLXh^an7Lr":;^.rofi^3r''^'^^ 

near meP—The n^th u , ^l despair come 

"Je r 1 he path between the walls of this rm^i 

the^^a^lfltLo^Thf^f^iXrr™ 

the ho„ east through thj c'ract "Te waT '^^JT 

ete™, dwelling speak to thy unhap;;" s^'ot 

th.°!.^t!i "°' !''""'^' '^^y"" '■" ">e woman who durinn- 
the cold wmter season, was compelled to go acrTs? 

'r r ;•: -h^TnSXe f ^° ' -^ ^ 
dominion of the R^manf th/XJa" Em" *^ 
wished to know how manv I»l 1 Emperor 

commanded that an enmlm. I 7 u^'^ ""^'•^' ^""^ 

be made in JudLa All tt ""' P'°P'" ^''°"''' 

juQffia. All the Jews were to go to the 



fP 



OF THE CROSS 



29 



place of their birth, and there report themselves to 
the Imperial officer. In the little town of Nazareth, 
in Galilee— a mountainous district of Judaea— there 
lived a carpenter. He was an elderly man, and 
had married a young wife, of whom a folk-soncr 
still s.ng.s— - 

"i^s beautifully white as milk, 
/ s marvellously soft as silk ; 
A. woman very fair to see, 
Yet full of deep humility." 

They were poor people, but pious and industrious 
and obedient. No man in the wide world troubled 
about them, and yet had it not been for them the 
Roman Empire might not have fallen. Years after- 
wards, mdeed, it fell because of that carpenter 
People from all quarters of the globe dwelt in Galilee, 
even barbarians who had wandered there from the 
west and the north. And it was often difficult to 
distinguish their descent. Our carpenter was born in 
the south of Judaea, in the town of Bethlehem, which, 
in olden times, had been the native place of King 
David. Joseph, the carpenter, was not unwilling to 
speak of that, and even to let it be known that he was 
of the house of David, the great king. But yet he 
might well have thought it a finer thing to rise up 
from below than to come down from above. And is 
it not so? Does not man rise up from below, and 
God come down from on high? In his boyhood 
David was a shepherd ; it is said that he slew the 
leader of the enemy with stones from his sling, and 
that was why he rose so high. Now for that reason, 
and because Joseph, the carpenter, was glad to visit 
his native town once again, and to take his wife with 
him and show her the land of his youth, the enrol- 



nil 



30 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



I 



It w^ree davs' ioi'"'' '"''/'' ™' ^"^ ^^'W^h^"-- 
well haveTom^hinid''"'^]: .^""^ "J"-, -d 'hey might 

all that is oT thTltt h, r'^,?'" "'-''''y """^ "°' 
Joseph, who al lays ieS'^^r ? ""'"'!. °' ^^^'^^ 
good money. Thev ZLu^ 7 ^°°^ ""'^ "'^'" 
with them fron, Z^l td the kT''" °''~'' 
obliged to rest by the wav 't, !,.""' °'''" 
rocky mountains was dfficrif' Z ^"^ """ '^^ 
to pass through tL u^ec 'dTa'dof"^.; '"' "''^''^'' 
Joseph never grumbled And "? r.^l"""'- ^"' 
Judaa. And when h., ''"' "'^y '■^^'^'■ed 

n.ents. he hked ,o "ton fi ""' T" ^"'^'■™' "■°""- 
were built and the!?; i" °''''"' '° ^^^ ""^ "><=/ 
and great deeds f o.den tot The ''^ ^"^' ■"^" 
at a place called Bethel lZ,h.? 'Pf ^ "'£'" 
that he saw a ladder uJ^ and there Joseph dreamed 

from earth to heaven rH;""' ^l"^ """ " ""-^h^d 

rungs would beaThTr; he m/^f h'""^*"' '' ""= 
meanwhile he >.aw h' ""g'" P^haps ascend it ; 

siowly de:«nd;dTt'u°„Til^he^cf:';r' T T^' 
Joseph was B„t „,i, , f ^ °°^" 'o where 

hand to h,^ the a^^'i' ^"'"P" "■■"'*^'' °"' his 
Joseph aw^k; td f Lr. Sre rin 'd" h'^ ^=<="- 
It was the place where onc^^f ^a^J"^', '>'^,=°"'- 
t!.e heaven, ,,,,,;';,fa^^^^^^^^ 

a:d^::nd'ttcrLat?i„rer\tr 

and saw the B^n camps But'f '^^ '''\^"-' 
angel who had come dowTwas hn "'°"^'" *« 
- orten imagined thatr.rhis''-S:^,t' 



OF THE CROSS 



31 



The land through which they journeyed was 
barren ; the plants were dried up by the frost and 
were all faded. Snow lay on the summits of 
Lebanon, which the travellers now saw from afar, 
away in their native land, and pale gleams fell on 
to the lowlands of Judaea through the cloudy atmo- 
sphere, so that stones and grass were white. When 
they rested beside a brook the woman gazed thought- 
fully into the pool and said, "Look, Joseph; what 
are the wonderful plants and flowers on the surface 
of the water ? " 

And Joseph said, " Haven't you ever seen them 

before, Mary ? You are young and have only known 

a few cold winters. And you don't know what these 

flowers mean ? Let me tell you. A maiden stands in 

the dawn. Her feet are on the moon and the stars 

circle round her head. And under her foot she 

crushes the head of the serpent who betrayed our first 

parents m Paradise. And see, Spring courts the 

m-T-en and bnngs her his roses. And Winter, too, 

c- the maiden, and because he has no other 

flc V .., he makes these to grow on the surface of the 

water and on the window-panes. But they are stiff" 

and cold, and the maiden, the mysterious rose, of 

whom a prophet sang, « All nations shall call thee 

blessed!' she chose the Spring." 

That was the story Joseph told. Joseph whose 
beard was white as the ice-flowers. Mary listened 
to the tale and was silent. 

On the third day the royal city lay before our 
wanderers. Magnificent it stood on the hill-top with 
the domes and pinnacles of its temples. At that 
time Herod, king of the Jews, sat on the throne and 
imagined that he ruled. But he only ruled in so far 
as the strangers allowed him to rule. The town 



i 

S 



32 



A PRI80NEUS STORY 



which had once been the pride of the chosen people, 
"ZL"Z "'* ^°'^" '''"•°''- "h" filled the 
h,s young w,fe down towards the sloping rocks where 

o^Z f^^"^ ?^ "'^ P^Pl'e"- There he was so 
overcome that suddenly he stretched forth his hands 

Messiah come?" His cry was re-echoed in the 

no sLf "'%™^''f' ""^ "-y -Id . "You sho M 

and th„„T'/°''P''- '^^'^ ''""'' "1" "»' «^val<en, 

Marv h»H '?"""/. P^yer that is quietly spoken." 

enter Zntfl ^^'^ '" ^^' ''""« '"=" ">«/ would 
s^d it ." ,M ■" fl ?'"'' "'^ "''e"" *ere. Joseph 
said It could not be, for he had no relatives in the 
town who could give them lodging, and he had not 
money enough to pay strangers for a lodgirg. Also 
he did not like the strange ways of the place • he 
yearned for his beloved Bethlehem, ulat 't ^e^y 
far off now; could she manage it? 

Mary signed "Yes" with her head, and gathered 
together all her remaining streng h. Bu jusi 
beyond the city walls she sank down exhausted 
and Joseph sa.d : " We will stay here so that you 
^empl*?'' ^"^ '°-'"°™" ' ean show you the 

There was a man on a stony hillock nailing two 
beams of wood together. Joseph understood fome- 
thing of that sort of work, but he was not quite clear 

mTght te. '^ """^- ^° ^^ "'^'"^ "h" '■' 

"He for whose use it is, doesn't want it," replied 
the workman. It then flashed into Joseph's mind 
that It was a gallows. 

Mary grasped his arm : "Joseph, let us go on to 
Bethlehem." For she began to be frightened. 



OF THE CROSS 



33 



They staggered along the road. A draught of the 
spring of the Valley of Jehoshaphat refreshed them. 
Farther on in the fertile plain of Judaea lambs and 
kids were feeding, and Joseph began to speak of his 
childhood. His whole being was fresh ana joyful. 
Home! And by evening time Bethlehem, lighted 
by the setting sun, lay before Ihem on the hill-top. 

They stood still for a space and looked at it. 
Then Joseph went into the town to inquire about 
the place and the time of the enrolment, and to seek 
lodging for the night. The young woman sat down 
before the gate under the fan-shaped leaves of a 
palm-tree and looked about her. The western land 
seemed very strange to her and yet sweet, for it was 
her Joseph's childish home. How noisy it was in 
Jerusalem, and how peaceful it was here — almost as 
still and solemn as a Sabbath evening at Nazareth ! 
Beloved Nazareth ! How far away, how far away ! 
Sometimes the sound of a shepherd's pipe was heard 
from the green hills. A youth leaned up against an 
olive-tree and made a wreath of twigs and sang: 
" Behold, thou art fair, my love. Thine eyes are as 
doves in thy fragrant locks, thy lips are rose- 
buds, and thy two breasts are like roes which feed 
among the lilies. Thou hast ravished my heart, my 
sister, my spouse." Then he was silent, and *he leaves 
rustled softly in the evening breeze. 

Mary looked out for Joseph, but he came not. 
And the singer continued : " Who art thou that 
shinest like the day-dawn, fair as the moon, and clear 
as the sun, divine daughter of Eve?" And Mary 
still waited under the palm-tree and listened, and she 
began to feel strange pangs. She drew her cloak more 
closely round her, and saw that the stars already stood 
in the sky. But still Joseph came not. And from 






If 



34 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



the hill the singer : " And from the root of Jesse a 
tw.g shall spring." And a second voice: "And aU 
nations shal „se up and sing her praises." So did 

XtTs ""' ''' ""^^ °' ^^^''^ °^^ ^-g^ -d 

At last Joseph came slowly from the town. The 

enrolnent was to take place to-morrow at nine 

over the lodgmg for the night. He had spoken 
with nch relations; they would have been^ery 
glad, but unfortunately a wedding-feast was going 
XVel "^"^r-J" h°-ely garments rnigh' 
tha ^ rl r°'"^°''''^^"' "" ^"'t^ understood 
wouid h/' k' ""'"' *° ^'' P°°^^^ ^^^^tions. who 
would have been even more glad, but it was 
deplorable that their house was so small and thel 
hearth so cramped All the inns were overcrowded 
with strangers. They did not seem to think much 
here of people from Galilee, because all kinds of 
heathenish folk lived there-as if any one who was 
born in Bethlehem could be a heathen -Ld so he 
did not know what to do. 

noil!i"g. '"""""^ """" "^''^ °" ^^^ ^^"^ -"d «aid 
Joseph."' ^'""^^ ^""^ ^''' ^'^ trembling, Mary," said 
She shook her head; it was nothing 

Joseph. We are not vagabonds to whom they can 
refuse assistance." "^ 

ho^'lff tt'" '^'^ ^°'^ ^""' '"*° *^^ ^°^"- Mine 
nost ot the inn was stern. 

" J. *°^f. y°" already, old man, that there's no place 
for the like of you in my house. Take your httle 
daughter somewhere else." 



OF THE CROSS 



35 



« 



Shes not my daughter, sir, but my true wife, 
trusted to me by God that I may protect her" 
hand"^"^ J°^«P^' and he lifted up his carpenter's 

The door was slammed in their faces. 

A fruit-seller, who had witnessed the scene 
stretched forth his brown neck and asked for their 
nassport. 

"If you show me your papers and three pieces of 
silver, 1 11 take you in for the love of God. For we 
are all wanderers on the earth." 
^ "We've no passport We've come from Nazareth 
in Galilee for the enrolment, because I am of the 
house of David," replied Joseph. 

" Of the house of David ! Why, you don't seem to 
know whether you're on your head or your heels" 
and with a laugh the fruit-seller went his way. 

"It is true," thought Joseph, "noble ancestors are 
useless to a man of no importance." For the future 
he would let David alone. 

Mary now advised him to go outside the town 
again Perhaps the very poor or entire strangers 
would have pity on them. And as they stagcrered 
along the stony road to the valley the woman sank 
down on the grass. 

Joseph looked at her searchingly. " Mary Marv 
what is it?" ^' 

A shepherd came along, looked at them, and 
listened to their request for shelter. 

" My wife is ill, and no one will take us in," com- 
plained Joseph. 

"Then you must go to the beasts," said the shep- 
herd cheerfully. " Come with me. I'll gladly share 
my house with you. The earth is my bed. the sky 
my roof, and a rocky cave my bedchamber." 



H 



tl 



f 



Ml 



36 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

And he led them to a hollow in the mossy rocks 
and It had a roof woven out of rushes. Inside an ox 
was chewing the hay it had eaten out of the manger. 
A brown ass stood near by and licked the ox's big 
head. There was still some hay left in the manger 
and in the corner was a bed of dry leaves. 

" Since you have nothing better, lie down here and 
rest as well as you can. I will seek a bed at my 
neighbour's." 

So saying the shepherd went away. It had now 
grown dark. 

The young woman lay down on the bed of le^'ves 
and heaved a sigh from her terrified heart. Joseph 
looked at her— and looked at her. Lightly the 
angel's wings touched his face. 

"Joseph, be not afraid. Lift up your heart and 
pray. It is the secret of all eternities, and you are 
chosen to be the foster-father of Him who comes 
from heaven." 

He looked round him, not knowing whence came 
these thoughts, these voices, this wondrous singing. 

"You are tired, Joseph, you must sleep," said 
Mary. And when he slumbered peacefully she 
prayed in her heart: " I am a poor handmaiden of 
the Lord. The will of the Lord be done." 



CHAPTER II 



It is midnight, and wakeful shepherds see a bright 
star. A strange star, too ; they had never seen its 
like before. It sparkled so brightly that the shep- 
herds' shadows on the plain were long. And it is 
said that they saw other stars approach it, and at 
length surround it. And then the new star threw 
off white sparks, which flew down earthwards and 
stopped in mid-air; and there were children with 
white Hings and golden hair. And they sang 
beautiful words to the honour of God and the good- 
will of men. 

In that selfsame hour a boy brought tidings that a 
tall, white-robed youth stood in front of the shepherd 
Ishmael's cave, and that within lay a young woman 
on t,,e bed of leaves, an infant at her breast. And 
high up in the air they heard singing. 

The story quickly spread through the mountains 
round Bethlehem. The shepherds who were awake 
roused those who slept. Everywhere a delicious 
tremor was felt, a sense of mighty wonder. A poor, 
strange woman and a naked child ! What was the use 
of singing? Swaddling clothes and wraps and milk 
were what was needed. One brought the fleece of a 
slaughtered sheep. Another brought dried figs and 
grapes and a skin of red wine. Other shepherds 
brought milk and bread and a fat kid ; every one 

3T 



^T 



If 

■ i 



38 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

brought something, just as they took tithes to the 
officer. An old shepherd came with a patched 
bagpipe, and when the bystanders laughed, Ishmael 
said: "Do you expect our poor, good Isaac to 
bring David's golden harp ? He gives what he has, 
and that's often worth more than golden harps." 

When they came down they no longer saw the star 
or the angels, but they found the cave, and the father 
and the mother and the child. He lay in the manger 
on the hay, and the beasts stood round and gazed at 
him with their big, melancholy, black eyes. The 
shepherd's pity for the poor people was so great that 
no one thought he was doing a good work for which 
people would praise him and God would bless him. 
No one looked slily at his neighbour to see who gave 
more and who less. Their one feeling was pity. 

People came from the to vn ; and a wiry shepherd, 
placing h ;n elf before the entrance to the grottc and 
using his staff as a spear, said : " Men of Bethlehem, 
ye cannot enter ; the babe sleeps." 

Near by stood an old man, who said dreamily: 
" The town cast him out. I always said there was 
no salvation yonder. That's to be found with the 
poor under the open sky. Miracles are happening 
here, men are pitiful. What does it mean ? " 

Down below in a cleft of the rock cowered a poor 
sinner, and burrowed in the earth with his lean fingers 
as if he would dig himself a grave in its depths, ''hc 
gazed at the cave where the child was with glassy, 
staring eyes. A prayer for mercy surged up in his 
heart like a stream of blood. Those who saw him 
turned from him shuddering. They took him for 
Cain, his brother's murderer. 



It 



CHAPTER III 



A STkAN(]p:K was riding a lazy camel across the 
lonely Arabian desert. All men are Moors in the 
dark, but this man was a Moor in the starlight. A 
newly discovered star brought the man from the 
banks of the Indus. He consulted all the calendars 
of the East, but none could tell him about the star. 
Balthasar, however, was not the man to let the 
strange, incomprehensible star escape him. Nothing 
car be concealed in God's bosom from an Eastern 
scholar, for not even God Himself has a passport for 
the land of the all-wise. The world is through them 
alone and for them alone ; man must grow ol imself 
towards the light as the lotus grows out of the mud. 
So thought Balthasar, and felt that life was a failure. 
In such wisdom the faith of Orientals lives and 
moves and has its being. If man honestly aspires 
to higher things and tortures his flesh, it may go 
better with him in anotner life. For he must be born 
again many times, and must torture his body until it 
shrivels up, is freed from sin, and is without desires. 
Then the soul is released and is not born again, for Nir- 
vana, the last goal, is reached. Only bad men continue 
to live. The nations of India had been demoralised 
by that doctrine for centuries. But it did not satisfy 
wise men. >Balthasar thought: If a man starves 
through a few dozen lives, then something good must 

39 



w 



I 



I 



40 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



come out of . t Or is evil good enough to continue, 
and good ev.l enough to cease? Balthasar sought 
better counsel. He sought throughout the universe 
lor a ,x;g on which to hang a new, more beneficial 
ph. osophy of l.fc. When. then, ho saw the new star 
n the sky, he never ceased looking at it. And, lo ! 
Lin , u?/"^^ ^'^"^ ^^^' *° ^^'^t ^^hich all men 
tha all went towards it, on earth as in heaven? 

streimp" T°"\r'''''"^" ''"■■ ^^'"^ ^g^'"-^^ the 

uTZ^ luV^I ""^" ''"^^""'y P-'S"'" took an 
unusual path ; he leaned somewhat to the north of 
the barbarous folk. So the wise man of the east left 
the fragrant gardens of India and followed the star 
fnH 1^^- ^^ ''^' J^^"^^ ^y *^^° Oriental princes 

not what '"""'' '"^'' '"''■" ^''° '""'^'"^ '^'y ^"^^ 
And one night the three wise men saw in the 
heavens an extraordinary constellation, a group of 
stars hitherto unknown to any of them 



* 
* 

* 



* 
* 



* * 



* 
* 
* 



* ♦ 



* 



* 

•K- 



i.l 



They looked at the constellation for a long while, 
and Balthasar thought it was like writing They 
brought all their wisdom to bear on it. but could 
not explain it, for all it shone so brightly. Did the 
gods mean to write some message? Who could 
understand it? An uncanny appearance, which no 
knowledge or faith could explain I The next night 



OF THE CR088 



II 



they did not see it, but the guiding star still went 
before them and yielded to no sun. 

One morning, just as day began to dawn, they 
rode through the streets of Jericho. A man was 
lying on his face in the road, and the Moor asked him 
'vhy he lay in the dust. 
^^ " I lie in the dust," answered the man of Judah. 

because I must practise myself in humility in ,)rdcr 
not to become too proud. We have become great 
beyond measure these last days. Ihc King of the 
Jews IS born, the Messiah promised of God." 

Then the wise man from India remembered how 
the Jews had been expecting their Messiah for ages, 
the royal deliverer from bondage. 

" I thought you had King Herod," he said. 

" He's not the right king," answered the man in 

Roman's'" " "^'""^ '' * ''^^^^^"' ^""^ """'"^^ *° ^^"^ 
And now clouds from Lebanon hid the star, and 
the travellers knew not which way to go. Balthasar 
perplexed, went towards the neighbouring city of 
Jerusalem ; there surely he would be able to learn 
more. He asked at the royal palace about the new- 
born kmg. Such a question was news to King 
Herod. A son born to him? He knew nothing 
about It. He would see the strangers who asked 
such a question. 

"Sire," said the Moor, "something is in the air. 
Your people are whispering of the Messiah." 

"I'll have them beheaded!" shouted Herod 
angrily; then, more gently: "I'll have them be- 
headed if they don't kneel before the Messiah. I 
myself will bow before him. If only I knew where 
to find him I " 

" I'll go and look round a little," said the com- 



Hf 



42 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



m' 



placent Balthasar, "and if I find him I'll come and 
tell you." 

" Do, do, noble stranger," said Herod. " And then, 
pray take your ease at my palace as long as you like. 
Are you fond of golden wine ? " 

" I drink red wine," answered the Moor. 

"Or of the fair women of the west?" asked the 
king. 

" I love dark-skinned women," said Balthasar. 

"Good! Then come, my friend, and bring me 
news of the new-born king." 

Balthasar rode on farther with his companions, and 
directly he left the town the star again shone in front 
of him. It hung high up in the heavens, and after 
they had followed it for some hours it slowly turned 
its course earthwards, and stopped above a cave in 
the rocks. And there the strangers who had ridden 
out of the east to seek for truth, there they found 
truth and life, there they found a child, a child 
who was as tender and beautiful as a rosebud in the 
moonlight, a little child born to poor people, and 
other poor folk stood round and offered the very 
last of their possessions, and were full of joy. 

Dusky Balthasar peered inside. Had he ever seen 
eyes shine as in this shepherd's cave? It seemed to 
him that he saw a new light and a new life there ; 
but he could not understand it. And in the air 
he heard a strange song, more a suggestion than 
words: "You will be blessed! You will live for 
ever ! " 

The strangers hearkened. What was that ? You 
will be blessed, and you will live for ever ! For us 
happiness is to be found only in non-existence. At 
sight of this new-born infant the idea of immortal 
life came to them for the first time. 



OF THE CROSS 



43 



They offered the poor mother precious jewels, and 
their hearts were glad and happy and strange within 
them. Formerly these princes and wise men had 
only found pleasure in receiving, now they found it 
in giving. Formerly Balthasar had been all sufficient 
unto himself, he had woven his thoughts in entire 
loneliness, had despised the rest of the world, and 
had only cared for himself. And suddenly there 
came to him this joy in the joy of poor men, and 
this suffering at their suffering ! He shivered in his 
silken cloak, and when he took it off and wrapped it 
about the child he was warm. 

They all offered gifts, precious gold and rich 
perfumes and healing ointments. But they were 
ashamed of their gifts beside the royal offerings of 
the shepherds, who, though it was not much, brought 
all that they possessed. 

Balthasar in his joy wished to hasten to Jerusalem 
in order to tell Herod : I have not yet found the King 
of the Jews, but I have found a poor child, and 
whoever looks upon him is happy, he knows not 
why. Now kings are not so anxious to be happy ; 
they prefer to be powerful. A youth came forward 
from the back of the cave and said to Balthasar: " Do 
you know the man to whom you would go ? Why, 
he would strangle the Emperor Tiberius if he could! 
Be silent, then, about a helpless child who is loved by 
the people as a prince." 

"Oh, child!" said Balthasar, "you have the mis- 
fortune to be the people's favourite. Therefore the 
great hate thee." 

" Stranger, go not to Jerusalem. Say nothing of 
the child." 

The strangers did not feel at ease in a land which 
had an emperor and a king, neither of whom was the 



I ! 



! 



44 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



i; 



nght ruler! And so they mounted their camels. 
They took one more look at the child in the manger 
and then rode away straight over the stony desert. 
1 hey directed their course towards the east, towards 
all the starry constellations, and dreamed of a new 
revelation which might enable them henceforth to 
live rich in love and ever glad 

Meanwhile King Herod, sleeping or waking, was 
not at peace. It was not on account of his wife or his 
brothers whom he had had murdered from a suspicion 
that they might kill him to secure the throne. It was 
something else that caused his anxiety. The new- 

h^fi, r^ . .^ °"^ mentioned the news at court, 
but he hea.d ,t from the walls of his palace, from the 

Who h H J^^^^f"' ^'^^ the P'"ows of his couch. 
Who had first spoken the word? Whence did it 

fnr?K -.KK "^"""^^ ^'"^' Wh^'-e? He must 
with a gift tied with a silken string. And one day 
the decree came to Bethlehem that every mother who 
had an infant son should bring it to the king's palace 
at Jerusalem, for the king desired to see the progeny 
of his subjects in order to discover what hope there 
was for the delivery of the land of the Jews from 
bondage : he wished to present gifts to the boys; yes 
he was preparing a great surprise for his people. No' 
n-t le excitement prevailed among the women, who 
declared that the childless king intended to ;dopt 
the handsomest boy as his own son. Since each 
mother considered her son the handsomest and most 
attractive, she took the boy that she had and carried 
him to Jerusalem to the palace of King Herod. And 

uards '^^"'^ ^° ^° "^^"^ '°"^^' °"^ ^y 'he 
Unhappy day. Q Herod I which bears thy name 



OF THE CROSS 



45 



for all time! The angry king, desiring to kill the 
anti-king, commanded the wholesale murder of the 
future protectors of his realm I He destroyed the 
race which had formerly saved the beautiful city 
from ruin ! ' 

" -^^ Jiail to our king, long may he live I " shouted 
the mothers in the courtyard of the palace. Then 
knaves rushed out from all the doors, tore the children 
from their mothers' arms, and slew them. None 
can describe, indeed none would attempt to describe 
now the unhappy mothers strove frantically with the 
tyrants until they fell fainting or lifeless upon the 
bodies of their dear ones. 

Tremble, O men, before the terrible decree of 
Herod, murderer of the \x locents, yet despair not. 
He for whom they spilled their blood by God's 
decree will requite it in full measure. 



CHAPTER IV 

He at whom Herod had struck was not among the 
slaughtered mnocents. For Mary had no desire to 
show her babe to the king. 

They kept in hiding with their great treasure. 
They remamed in hidings a long time. The rite of 
circumcision made the boy a member of the nation 
which God had named His chosen people. The child's 
ancestors reached back to Abraham, to whom the 
promise was made. And if according to Holy Writ 
I trace his descent from the race of Abraham, branch 
by branch ,t comes at last to Joseph. Mary's husband. 
And It IS here that the glad tidings turn us aside with 
firm hand from all earthly existence-to the Soint 
through which Mary had borne Him. Him whom 
with holy awe we call Jesus. 

Now it came to pass one night that Joseph awoke 
from h^ sleep: "Arise. Joseph, wake them, and 
flee ! The voice called to him clearly and distinctly • 
twice, thrice. ^ ' 

';^ Flee? before whom? The shepherds protect 
us, Joseph ventured to say. 

" The king will have the child. Make your pre- 
parations quickly and flee." 

Joseph looked at his wife and child. Their faces 

were white in the moonlight. To think that such as 

they had an enemy on the earth I Flee ! But wlJther ? 

J. 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 47 

Where could the king not reach them ? His arm ex- 
tended throughout the whole of Judaia. We must not 
dream of going to Nazareth; he would be sure to seek 
us there. Shall we go towards the land where the 
sun rises ? There dwell wild men of the desert. Or 
towards the setting sun ? There are the boundless 
waters, and we have no boat in which to sail thither, 
where the heathens live who have kinder hearts than 
the grim princes of Israel. 

"Wake them!" called the voice clearly and 
urgingly. « Take them to the land of the Pharaohs." 
" To Egypt, where our forefathers were slaves, and 
were only delivered with difficulty? " asked Joseph. 

"Joseph, delay not. Go to the people whose faith 
is folly, but whose will is just, yonder where the 
waters of the Nile make the land fertile and bless it ; 
there you will find peace and livelihood, safety for 
your wife, and teaching for the child. When the time 
comes, God will lead you back as once He led Moses 
and Joshua across the sea." 

Joseph knew not whose voice it was ; he did not 
seek to know, and doubted not his soul rested trust- 
fully in the arms of the Lord. He put his hand on 
the shoulders of his dearest one, and said softly: 
" Mary, awake, and be not afraid. Gather together 
our few possessions, put them in a sack, and I will 
fasten it to the beast Ishmael gave us. Then take the 
child. We must away." 

Mary pushed her long, soft, silky hair from her face. 
Her husband's sudden decision, the departure in the 
middle of the night, made her wonder, but she said 
not a word. She gathered together their scanty 
possessions, took the sleeping child in her arms, and 
mounted the ass, who pricked up his ears and thought 
what a day's work must be before him since it began 



48 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



n 



. i 
ft 1 1 



so terribly early. His former owner had not pam- 
pered him ; his short legs were firm and willing. 
They gave one last grateful look at the cave, the 
stones of which were softer than the hearts of the 
men of Bethlehem. Joseph took his stick and a 
leathern strap and walked beside the ass. leading it 
the ass which carried his whole world and his heaven' 
and— the heaven of the whole world. 

After going some way, they -hought to rest under 
some palm-trees, not far from H.^bron. But the ass 
would not stop, and they let him 1 ave his will. Then 
soldiers of Herod rode that way ; ihey saw a brown- 
skmned woman with a child sitting on the sand 
" Is it a boy ? " they called to her. 
" A girl," answered the woman. " But strangers 
have just passed by, and I think they had a boy with 
them, if you can come up with them." 

And the horsemen galloped on. Meanwhile the 
fugitives from Nazareth had reached bad roads, and 
were tired and wretched. Was not Jacob's favourite 
son also taken into Egypt just like this child ? What 
will become of this one? They became aware of 
their pursuers galloping behind over the bare plain 
Not a tree, not a shrub which could afford them pro-' 
tection. They took refuge in the cleft of a rock, but 
Joseph said: "What is the use of hiding? They must 
have seen us" But as soon as they were well inside 
the dark hole, down came a spider from the mossy 
wall, summoned all her brood and her mosf distant 
relations in great haste, and they speedily spun a web 
over the opening, a web that was stronger than the 
iron railings in Solomon's temple, at the entrance to 
the Holy of Holies. Hardly was the weaving finished 
when the knaves came riding up. One said : " Thev 
crept into the hole in the rock." 



OP THE CROSS 49 

crrouH^V" "'■?"*«' «"°*". "no one could have 
crept ,n there since the time of David the sheoherd 
Look at the thick cobwebs " snepherd. 

rJ^Iot '"""'" ""'^ '"'S'''''' *"" ='«ishtway 
An old man who seemed to have risen from the 
grave now stood before the dusky woman who had 
demed her own son and betrayed the stranger wan 

ZT ^?v. , ".''^ "■"= *■« ^'<i "°t know himself 
He loved the lonely desert, the home of great though 
He d.d not fear the robbers of the desert, for he wa^' 
stronger than they because he had nothing. Now 

face soZltl '^^11"'"V° "'■■" '" '-•>°" ' '■""•''" 

of men t V h""^ "."^ "'"'''" "^^^'^^ '"« ^"uls 
of men looked upwards or sank downwards. The 

old man went up to the woman who had denied her 

hfe . once through pleasure, once through a lie. So his 
I.fe w,ll be a he. He will breathe without livinrand 
yet he will not be able to die < " 

"Mercy I" she cried. 

" He will see Jerusalem fall i " 

" Woe is me I " 

" He will see Rome burn ! " 

"Mercy I" she groaned. 

" «* »'"'. see the old world perish. He will see 
the barbarian, of the no«h%revail. He will 
wander restless, he will be ill-treated and despised 
everywhere, he will suffer the boundless despl of 
universal misery, and he will not be able to die 

right to die. He will learn how they suck sweet 
poison from the loveliest blossoms, and how twelve 
year-old boys kill themselves from sheer wearineTs. 

5 



60 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

He is the son of lies and is banished into the 
kingdom of lies. He will lament over the torments 
of old age, and he will not be able to die. He 
will call those children whom Herod slew blessed, 
and gnash his teeth at the memory of the woman 
who saved him through a lie." 

" Oh, stop ! " shrieked the woman. " When will 
he be redeemed ? " 

" Perhaps when the eternal Truth is come." 



■ 1 



CHAPTER V 



The desert lay under a leaden sky. The yellow 
undulating sandy plain was like a frozen sea that 
had no end, and so far as eye could see was only 
bounded by the dark orb of heaven. Here and 
there, grey, cleft, cone-shaped rocks and blunt- 
cornered stone boulders or blocks and flat-topped 
stones not unlike a table rose out of the sand-ocean. 
Two such stones were situated close together ; one 
was partly covered by the yellow quicksand, the 
other stood higher out of the ground. On each 
of them lay a man stretc'^'"'^ at full length. One, 
strong and sinewy, lay on nis idce, supporting his 
black-bearded cheeks with ais hands so that his 
half-raised face could gaze over the barren plain. 
The other, a smaller-made man, lay on his back, 
making a pillow of his arms, and gazed at the 
gloomy sky. Both wore the Bedouin dress and 
were provided with arms which were fastened into, 
or suspended from, their clothes. Their woolly 
heads were protected by kerchiefs. Their com- 
plexion was as brown as the bark of the pine-tree, 
their eyes big and sparkling, their lips full and 
red. The one had a snub nose ; the nose of the 
other was long and thin. So do these men of the 
desert appear to my mind's eye. 

61 



52 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



i\ 
\\ 

{ T 



"Dismas," said the snub-nosed man, "what do 
you see in the sky?" 

" Barabbas," replied the other, " what do you see 
in the desert ? " 

" Are you waiting for manna to fall from the sky?" 
said Barabbas. "Do you know that I'm almost 
starved to death ? I must go down to the caravan 
route." 

"Well, go. I'll to the oasis of Sheba," said 
Dismas. 

" Dismas, I hate you," growled the other. 

Dismas said nothing, and steadfastly looked at 
the sky, which had not for a long while been so 
softly sunless as to-day. 

"Since the day when you refused to help me 
hold up the caravan of Orientals with my men, 
I have hated you. They had much frankincense 
and precious spices and gold. With one blow we 
should have provided ourselves with enou^jh fur many 
a long year. And "ou " 

"Wanderers who were seeking the "lessiah! I 
do not attack such as they," said Dip .s. 

" You, too, are seeking him, you f , us highway- 
man." 

" Of course, I seek him." 

"Hal ha! ha I" laughed he of the snub-nose, 
pressing his pointed chin into his hand. "The 
Messiah 1 the fa'-y-tale of dreaming old men. All 
weak men dream and believe. Don't you see that 
when y - have to strive and struggle for your little 
bit of life there isn't time to wait for the Messiah I " 

" That's just what I've believed for many a year 
and day," answered Dismas sadly. " I left my home 
to follow you; I've plundered men of silks and 
precious stones here in the desert, and time has flown 



OF THE CROSS 



6S 



nevertheless. All the treasure in the world cannot 
bid it stand still for an hour ; comfort only makes 
the days fly quicker. We should not struggle for 
life, but hold it fast, for existence is a wondrous 
thing. Oh, in vain— the days vanish. So I've 
determined to have nought to say to the hours 
which pass, but to a time that enduras for aye. 
And only he whom God sends can bring such a 
time." 

Barabbas pressed his face against the stone, and 
said with comfortable conviction : " We've only the 
life we have ; there's no other." 

" If it was as you say," returned Dismas, " we must 
make this one life great " 

"If there's no life to come," said Barabbas, "we 
must live this one out. That is nature, and to deny 
it folly. No, I will enjoy my life. Enjoyment is a 
duty." 

I* That is what bad men think," said Dismas. 

"There are no bad men," exclaimed Barabbas, 
"and no good men either. Friend, look at the 
lamb, he harms no one; he would rather be torn 
to pieces by the lion than tear the lion to pieces 
himself. Is he good, therefore? No, only weak. 
And the lion who kills and eats the lamb? Is he 
bad, therefore ? No, only strong. And so it is bis 
right to destroy the weak. Strength is the only 
virtue, and the only good deed is to exterminate the 
weak." 

When he made an end of speaking, the other 
turned his face towards him, and said: "What 
extraordinary words are those? I never heard such 
talk before. In whose heart were such ideas born ? " 

" They were not born in the heart," said Barabbas. 
" The heart is dumb. Dismas, if I must dwell in 



; f 



\^ 



64 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



li 



( »! : 



hJ' 



desert caves and do nothing, I must search out and 
inquire. I break stones in pieces and search. I pull 
the corpses of animals and men to pieces and inquire. 
And I find that things are not as the old writings 
tell us. There's only one Messiah : the truth. Man 
is an animal like any of the lower creatures— that 
is the truth. Ha, ha, ha ! " 

A shudder went through Dismas's body. How 
he disliked this man ! And yet, on account of his 
companion's stronq: wfll, and through the habit of 
years, he could iv>i free himself. He had often fled 
away from him, but had always come back. Now 
he stood up, lifted his arms to heaven, and ex- 
claimed : "Oh, Lord, in the holy heights, save 
me I " 

" Invoke the stars," said Barabbas, with a scornful 
laugh. " You'll be right then. They know nothing 
of you and your God. They're made of common 
dust. They themselves, and all the beings on them, 
live in the same base struggle as does our earth and 
everything on it An enormous dust-heap, swarming 
with vermin, that's all." 

Dismas sat on his stone with folded hands, pale as 
a corpse. 

"Barabbas, my comrade," he said at last, "it is 
your bad angel that speaks." 

" Why don't you praise him, Dismas ? Why don't 
you shout for joy ? My message has redeemed you. 
You think because you've attacked, slain, and plun- 
dered unsuspecting travellers that everlasting hell 
must be your portion. My strong message does 
away with hell. Do you see that ? " 

The other replied : " I heard a prophet in the 
wilderness cry that a man whom God had damned 
could be saved by repentance. Your damnation 



OF THE CROSS 



55 



Rarabbas, never! No Almighty God! Everything 
a dry, swarming dust-heap, and no escape ! Frightful, 
frightful ! " 

" Do you know, Dismas, yuur lamentations don't 
amuse me?" said the other, supporting himself on his 
hands and knees like a four-footed beast. " I have 
a more important matter on hand. I'm hungry." 

Dismas jumped off his stone, and made ready for 
flight. " If he's hungry, he's capable of killing and 
eating me." 

Barabbas had assumed a listening attitude, and 
his eagle eyes stared out into the desert. A red 
banner was visible between the rocks and stones ; 
it moved and came nearer. It was a woman's red 
garment. She rode on an ass, and seen closer, carried 
a child in her arms. A man, tired out, limped beside 
her, leading the ass. 

" Dismas, there's some one," whispered Barabbas* 
grasping the handle of his weapon. " Come, let's 
hide behind the stone until they come up." 

"You'll fall on those defenceless folk from an 
ambush?" 

•'■ And you're going to help me," said Barabbas 
coolly. 

"We'll take what we need for to-day, no more. 
I'll only help you so far, mark th.t.' 

The little group came nearer. The man and the 
ass waded deep in the sand, which in some places 
lay scantily over the rough stones, and in others had 
drifted into high heaps. The guide was leading 
the animal quickly, for during this sunless day he 
had lost his bearings, but said nothing about it, in 
order not to make his wife anxious. His eyes sought 
the right road. They ought to reach the oasis 
of Descheme that day. Now he saw two men 



56 



.'ii 



I 

H-t' 



A PRISONER'S STORY 






Ihesky^ °" ^^°*'''' °^ **°"^ ^^'ch '•cached up into 

" Praised be God ! " said Joseph of Nazareth. " these 
men will put me right." 

Before he had time to frame his question, they 
quickly descended. One seized the ass's bridle the 
other grasped Joseph's arm, and said: "Give us ^hat 
you have with you." 

crJ^^ J"^^ '^°"'^" °" *^^ ^^^ ««"t an imploring 
g ance to Heaven. The little child in her lap looked 
straight out of his clear eyes, and was not afraid 

If you ve bread with you. give it us." said Dismas 
who was holding the ass. ^'^"inN 

"Fool!" shouted Barabbas of the snub nose 
"everythmg they have belongs to us. Whether we 
will give anything, that's the question. I will give 
you the most precious thing-life. Such a beautiful 
woman without life would be a horror." 

Dismas reached at the sack. 

" w!^M ^7 r" "^"'"^ ^^^^' ^'■°'^^^^" ^^Jd Barabbas. 

Well lead them to our castle. The simoon may 

be^ Wowing up. There they'll have shelter for the 

thil! 'Z '^^ Y'"^^^ ^'■^"^ ^''""^''^ hand, and led 

the otr".^ \\' '^''^'' '"' ^'^"^ ^°-" between 
the stones to the cave. Joseph saw the men's 

weapons, and followed gloomily 

When the shades of evening fell, and the desert 
was shut out and the sky dark, when the blocks o 
stone and the cone-shaped rocks resembled black 
monsters, the wanderers were settled in the depths 
of the cave The ass lay in front of it sleepC 

th' rnL !f''^"^°" '^' ^^"^- N^^^ by lurked 
the robbers, and ate their plunder. 

" Now we'll share our guests in brotherly fashion ' 



OF THE CROSS 



67 



said Barabbas. " You shall have the old man and 
the child." 

"They are father, mother, and child," replied 
Dismas; "they belong together, we will protect 
them." ^ 

"Brother," said Barabbas, who was in high good 
humour at the ease of the capture, "your dice. 
We 11 throw for them. First, for the ass " 

" Right, Barabbas." 

He threw the eight-cornered stone with the black 
marks, and it fell on his outspread cloak. The ass 
was his. 

" Now for the father and son ! " 
"Right, Barabbas." 

The dice fell. Barabbas rejoiced. Dismas was 
winner. 

" A third time for the woman ! " 

" Right, Jarabbas." 

He threw the dice ; they fell on his cloak 

"What is that? The dice have no marks! 
Disnas, stop this joke I You've changed the dice " 

When he took them up in his hand the black 
marks were there again all right. They threw a 
second and a third time. As before the dice had no 
marks when they fell. 

"What does it mean. Dismas? The dice are 
blmd." 

" I think it's you who are blind, Barabbas," laughed 
Dismas. " Here, drink these drops, and then lie 
down and sleep." 

The strong man soon rolled on to the sand beside 
the ass, and snored loudly. 

Then Dismas crawled into the cave and woke the 
strangers, in order to get them away from the libertine 
For he dared not venture a trial of strength with 



J 



58 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



i 1 



■ £ 


1 


1 ^ 




's 


^^I^B' 




EZmEi 




^^^■s 

'^H ^t^ 






m 


i 



Barabbas. He had some trouble with Joseph, but at 
last they were beneath the starry sky, Mary and the 
child on the ass, Joseph leading it Dismas walked 
in front in order to show them the way. They went 
slowly through the darkness ; no one spoke a word. 
Dismas was sunk in thought. Past days, when he 
had rested like this child in his mother's arms and 
his father had led them over the Arabian desert, rose 
before him. Many a holy saying of the prophets 
had echoed through his robber life and would not 
be silenced. 

After they had waded through the sand and 
clambered over the rocks for hours, a golden band 
of light shone in the east. The bushes and trees of 
the oasis of Descheme stood out against it. 

Here Dismas left the wanderers to their safe road, 

in order to return to the cave. When he turned 

back with good wishes for the rest of their journey, 

he was met by a look from the child's shining eyes. 

The beaming glance terrified him with the terror of 

wonderment. Never before had child or man looked 

at him with look so grateful, so glowing, so loving as 

this boy, his pretty curly head turned towards him, 

his hands stretched out in form of a cross, as if he 

wished to embrace him. Dismas's limbs trembled 

as if a flash of lightning had fallen at his side, and yet 

it was only a child's eyes. Holding his head with 

both hands, he fled, without knc.ving why he fled, 

for he would rather have fallen on his knees before 

the wondrous child. But something like a judgment 

seemed to thrust him forth, back into the horror of 

the desert. 

For three days our fugitives rested in the oasis. 
Mary liked to sit on the grass under an olive-tree 
near the spring, and let the boy stretch his little soft 



OF THE CROSS 



59 



arms to pluck a flower. He reached it, but did not 
break it from its stem ; he only stroked it with his 
soft fingers. 

And when the child fell asleep in the flowers, his 
mother kneeled before him and looked at him. And 
she gazed and gazed at him, and could not turn her 
face from him. Then she bent down and took one 
little plump, soft hand and shut it into hers so that 
only the finger-tips could be seen, and she lifted them 
to her mouth and kissed them, and could not cease 
kissing the white, childish hands, the tears running 
down her cheeks the while. And with her large dark 
eyes she looked out into the empty air — afraid of 
pursuers. 

Joseph walked up and down near at hand between 
the trees and shrubs, but always kept mother and 
child in view. He was gathering dates for their 
further travels. 

And now new faces rise before me as they wander 
farther into the barren desert, swept by the simoon, 
parched by the rays of the sun. Mary is full of peace, 
and wraps the child in her cloak so that he rests like 
a pearl in its shell. He nestles against her warm 
breast and sucks his fill. Whenever Joseph begins to 
be afraid, he feels the angel's wing fanning his face. 
And then he is full of courage and leads his loved 
ones past hissing snakes and roaring lions. 

After many days they reached a fertile valley lying 
between rocky hills ; a clear stream flowed through 
it. They rested under a hedge of thorns, and looked 
at a terribly wild mountain that ros'.i high above the 
rest. It was bare and rocky from top to bottom, 
and deep clefts divided it in its whole length, so that 
the mountain seemed to be formed of upright blocks 
of stone, which looked like the fingers of two giant 



It 



60 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



^ I 



■!i 



r 



I 



hands placed one on the other. A hermit was feeding 
his goat in the meadow, and Joseph went up to him 
and asked the name of the remarkable mountain. 

" You are travelling through the district, and you 
don t know the mountain ? " said the hermit. " If you 
are a Jew, incline your face to the earth and kiss it. 
It IS the spot where eternity floated down from 
Smai." 

" That— the Mountain of the Law ? " 
" See how it stretches forth its fingers swearine 
As true as God lives ! " 

Joseph bowed down and kissed the ground. Mary 
looked at the stony mountain with a thrill of awe 
Little Jesus slept in the shade of the thorn-bush. 
Ihe threatening?: rock and the lovely child. There 

dark menaces, and here ? 

Joseph tried to picture to himself the scene when 
Moses, on the summit of the mountain, received 
the tables of stone from Jehovah. Then a cloud 
slowly covered the mountain top as if to veil the 
secret. Joseph was ashamed of his presumption and 
kept silence. Before he departed he cut a bough from 
the thorn-bush and pulled off the leaves and twigs so 
that It formed a pilgrim's staff for the rest of the 
journey. They were always meeting new dangers 
And one day a hunter of the desert came running 
after them. They were not frightened of his tiger 
^^iwin, but of AThat he had to tell them. If they had 
come from Judaea with their boy, they had better 
hasten into the land of Egypt, for Herod's men were 
on their track. So they had no rest until at last they 
came to the land of the Pharaohs. But one day they 
found themselves not on its frontier, but on the sea- 
shore. They were dumb with astonishment. There 
lay the sea, its waves dashing against the black, 



I 

i 



OF THE CROSS 



61 



jagged cliffs, and beyond them was a smooth, level 
plain as far as the eye could see. 

Once in the past fugitives had stood on the other 
side of the sea, their enemies behind them. And 
Joseph lifted up his arms and called upon the God of 
his forefathers to divide the waters of the sea once 
again and make a passage for them. Belief in the God 
of ancestors is strong. He appealed also to his ances- 
tors themselves and entreated them to come to his 
assistance, for are we not one with them and strong 
in the same faith ? But the sea lay in calm repose 
and divided not. Six horsemen came riding over the 
sand, shouting for joy at the thought of their reward, 
when they saw those they had so long pursued 
standing by the water, unable to proceed farther. 
Quickly they approached the shore, and were about 
to let fly the stones from their slings against the 
couple who had the little King of the Jews witli them, 
when they saw the fugitives descend the wave-washed 
cliffs and go out upon the surface of the sea. The 
man led the ass on which sat the woman with the 
child, and just as they had passed over the sand of 
the desert, with even steps, they passed over the waters 
of the sea. 

Their pursuers rode after them in blind rage, urged 
their horses into the sea, and were the first to ach — 
not Egypt, but the other world. 



CHAPTER VI 




The family of the poor carpenter from Nazareth 
stood on the soil of ancient Egypt. How had they 
crossed the sea ? Joseph thought in a fishing boat, 
but It had all happened as in a dream. He opened 
his eyes, and sought the mountains of Nazareth, and 
saw the dark grove of palm-trees with their bare 
trunks and sword-shaped leaves, and he saw the gate 
flanked by enormous stone figures which, lying on 
their bellies, stretched out two paws in front of them 
and lifted huge human heads high in the air. He saw 
the triangular form of the pyramids rise against the 
yellow background. Strange odours filled the air, as 
well as shrill noises made by fantastic figures, and every 
sound struck hard and sharp on the ear. Joseph's heart 
was heavy. His home was abandoned, and they were 
in a strange land in which they must certainly be lost. 
Mary, who was always outwardly calm, but in- 
wardly bound up passionately in the child, looked at 
Joseph's stick, and said : "Joseph, it is a nice thought 
of yours to deck your .taff with a flower in token of 
our safe arrival." Then Joseph looked at his stick 
and marvelled. For from the branch which he had 
cut a^ Sinai there sprouted a living, snow-white lily 
Oh, Joseph, 'tis the flower of purity ! But what was 
the use of all the flowers in the world when he was 
so full of care? He lifted the child in his arms, and 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 63 

when he looked at his sunny countenance the 
shadows were dispersed. But they experienced 
shadows enough in the land of the sun, where men 
had built a splendid temple to the sun-god like 
that which the Israelites at home had built to the 
great Jehovah. 

Things did not go very well with these poor Jews 
during the long years they remained in this land. 
They did not understand the language; but their 
simple, kindly character and their readiness to be of 
use told in their favour. In that treeless land carpentry 
was at a discount. They built themselves a hut out 
of reeds and mud on the bank of the Nile near the 
royal city of Memphis, but in such a building the car- 
penter's skill did not shine. Still it was better than 
the dwellings of other poor people by the riverside. 
Joseph thought of fishing for a livelihood ; but the fi.sh- 
basket that he wove was so successful that the 
neighbours supplied him with food so that he might 
make such baskets for them. And soon people came 
from the town to buy his baskets, and when he carried 
his wares to market, he got rid of them all on the way. 
So basket-making became his trade, and he thought 
how once the little Moses was saved in a basket on 
the Nile. And just as his work was liked, so also did 
Mary and himself win affection, and they confessed 
that life went better on the banks of the Nile than in 
poor little Nazareth, for veritably there were fleshpots 
in Egypt. If only tuey could have crushed their 
hearts' longing for home ! 

When the little Jesus began to walk, the mothers 
who were their neighbours wished him to make friends 
with their children and play with them. But the boy 
was reserved and awkward with strangers. He pre- 
ferred to wander alone at evening-time beside the 



64 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



"■„( 



m 



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stream and gaze at the big lotus flowers growing out 
of the mud, and at the crocodiles which sometimes 
crawled out of the water, and lifting their heads 
towards the sky, opened their great jaws as if they 
would drink in the sunshine. He often remained out 
longer than he ought, and came back with glowing 
cheeks, excited by some pleasure about which he said 
nothing. When he had eaten his figs or dates, and lay 
in his little bed, his father and mother sat close by, 
and spoke of the land of their fathers, or told ancient 
tales of their ancestors until he fell asleep. Joseph 
instructed the boy in the Jewish writings ; but it was 
soon apparent that Joseph was the pupil, for what 
he read with difficulty from the roll, little Jesus spoke 
out spontaneously from his innermost soul. So he 
grew into a slender, delicate stripling, learned the 
foreign tongue, marked the customs, and followed 
them so far as they pleased him. There was much in 
him that he did not owe to education ; although he said 
little, his mother observed it. And once she asked 
Joseph : " Tell me, are other children like our Jesus ? " 

He answered: "So far as I know them— he is 
different." 

One day, when Jesus was a little older, something 
happened. Joseph had gone with the boy to the 
place where the boats land, in order to offer his 
baskets for sale. There wa- a stir among the people : 
soldiers in brilliant uniforms and carrying long spears 
marched along ; then came two heralds blowit ^ their 
horns as if they would split the air with the harp 
tones ; and behind came six black slaves draw .ng a 
golden chariot in which sat Pharaoh. He was a pale 
man with piercing eyes, dressed in costly robes, a 
sparkling coronet on his black, twisted hair. The 
people shouted joyfully, but he heeded them not ; he 



OF THE CROSS 



65 



leaned back wearily on his cushions. But all at once 
he h'fted his head a little : a boy in the crowd, the 
stranger basket - maker's little son, attracted his 
attention. Whether it was his beauty or something 
unusual about the boy that struck hii , we cannot say, 
but he ordered the carriage to be stopped, and the 
child to be brought to him. 

Joseph humbly came forward with the boy, crossed 
his hands on his breast, and made a deep obeisance. 
"That is your son?" said the king in his own 
language. 
Joseph bowed affirmatively. 

" You are a Jew ! Will you sell me the boy ? " 
asked Pharaoh. 

And then Joseph : " Pharaoh ! although I am a 
descendant of Jacob, whose sons sold their brother 
Joseph into Egypt, I do not deserve your irony. We 
are poor people, but the child is our most cherished 
possession." 

" I only spoke in kindness about the selling," said 
the king. " You are my subjects, and the boy is my 
property. Take him, Hamar." 

The servant was ready to put his hand on the little 
boy, who stood by quietly and looked resolutely at 
the king. Joseph fell on his knees and respectfully 
represented that he and his family were not Egyptian 
subjects, but lived there as strangers, and implored the 
almighty Pharaoh to allow him the rights of hospitality. 
" I know nothing about all that, my good man," 
said the king. Then, catching sight of the boy's angry 
face, he laughed. " Meseems, my young Jew, that 
you would crush me to powder. Let me live a little 
longer in this pleasant land of Egypt. I shall not 
harm you. You are much too beautiful a child for 
that" He stopped, and then continued in a different 

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A PRISONERS STORY 



tone : Wait, and look more closely at Pharaoh, and 
see If he is really so terribly wicked, and whether it 
would be so dreadful to live in his palace and hand 
ftim the goblet when he is thirsty. Well? Be 
assured, old man, I shall do you no violence. Boy 
you shall come to my court of your own free will,' 
you shall share the education and instruction of the 
children of my nobles ; only sometimes I shall have 
you with me, you fine young gazelle. Now go 
home with your father. To-morrow I will send 
and ask. mark you-only ask. not command. He 
who IS tired of plundered booty knows how to value 
a free gift. You hear what I say ? " 

When the crowd heard Pharaoh speak to these 
poor people with such unwonted kindness, the like 
of which they had never heard before, they uttered 
mad shouts of joy. As the king proceeded on 
his way in his two-wheeled golden chariot, a long 
array of soldiers, cymbal players, and dancing giris 
following behind, the palm-groves resounded with 
the cries of the people. Joseph fled with the boy 
down narrow streets so as to avoid the crowd that 
wanted to press round him and look at and pet 
Pharaoh's little favourite. 

The same evening an anxious council was held in 

the little hut The boy, Jesus, was drawn to Pharaoh 

without saying why. They were terrified about it 

The two working people had no idea that their life 

was becoming too narrow for his young soul that 

he wanted to fortify himself with the knowledge to 

be obtained from the papyrus rolls of the ancient 

men of wisdom, with the intellectual products of the 

land of the Pharaohs. And still less did they imagine 

that a deeper reason led their boy to desire to learn 

something of life in the worid. 



OF THE CROSS 



07 



Joseph admitted that the manuscripts in the royal 
collection counted for something. But Mary put 
little trust in the writings, and still less in Pharaoh. 

" We've had," she said, "a painful experience of the 
good intentions of kings. Having escaped the vio- 
lence of Herod with difficulty, are we to submit to 
that of Pharaoh ? They all play the same game, only 
ma different way. What Jerusalem could not accom- 
phsh by force, Memphis will accomplish by cunning." 
Joseph said : " My dear wife, you are not naturally 
so mistrustful. Yet after what we have gone through 
it is no wonder. This legend of a young King of the 
Jews has been a real fatality to us. Whoever started 
it can never answer for all the woes it brings." 

"Let us leL/c that to the Lord, Joseph, and do 
what it is ours to do." 

When Joseph was alone with her he said : " It 
seems to me, Mary, that you believe our Jesus is 
destined for great things. But you must remember 
that a basket-maker's hut is not exactly the right 
place for that. He would have a better chance at 
Pharaoh's court— like Moses. And we know that 
the King of Egypt is no friend of Herod. No, that 
is not his line ; he really wishes well to the child, 
and no one can better understand that than ourselves! 
Did he not say that our darling should be treated 
like the children of the nobles ? " 

In the end she decided to do what was best for the 
child. He was past ten years old, an. if he wished 
to go from the mud hut to the palace, well, she would 
not forbid it. 

Jesus heard her words. " Mother," he said, and 
stood in front of her, " I do not wish to go from the 
mud hut to the palace, but I want to see the world 
and men and how they live. I am not abandoning 



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«8 A PRISONERS STORY 

my parents to go to Pharaoh— although I go, I remain 
here with you." 

" Vou remain with us," said his mother, "and yet I 
see that even now you arc no longer here." 

But she would not let him know how it was with her. 
He should not see her weep. She would not spoil 
his pleasure. And then they discovered that after 
all he was not going very far away, only from the 
Nile to the town, and that Pharaoh had promised 
him liberty ; he could visit his parents, and return to 
them whenever he so wished. But he would no 
longer be the same child who went from them. Mary 
reflected that that was the usual case with mother 
and son ; the youth gave himself up more and more 
to strangers, and less and less of him remained to his 
mother. There remained to her the memory that she 
had borne him in pain, that she had nourished him 
with her life ; she had a claim on him more sacred and 
everlasting than any other could have. But gradually 
and inevitably he separated himself from his mother, 
and what she would do for him, and give him, and be 
to him, he kindly but decidedly set aside. She must 
even give him her prayerful blessing in secret ; she 
hardly dared to touch his head with her trembling 
hand. 

Next day at noon a royal litter stood before the 
hut. Two slaves were the bearers, one of whom was 
old and feeble. When Mary saw the litter she ex- 
claimed that she would not allow her child to lie on 
so soft a couch. The boy smiled a little, so that two 
dimples appeared on his rosy cheeks, and said : 

" Why, mother, do you think I would ride on those 
cushions ? Now, let the sick slave get in, and I will 
take his place." 

But the leader of the little procession was not 



OP THE CROSS 



00 



agreeable. The boy could do as he liked, stay, or go 
with them. 

" I shall stay," said Jesus," and go to ''haraoh when 
I please." The litter returned empt> ' ;, the palace. 

The next day the boy made up hia mind to go. 
His parents accompanied him through the palm- 
grove to the town. He walked between father and 
mother in his huii, >!( garb, and Joseph gave him 
good advice the while. Mary was silent and invoked 
the heavenly powers to protect her child. Only the 
boy was admit t.-d through the gateway of the palace ; 
father and ni jlher remained behind and looked fear- 
fully after th<ir Jesus, vvhc tui;i<;d round to wave to 
them. His fncc was fjlad, and ihat comforted the 
mother. The father tin unrht it incomprehensible that a 
child could so cheerfuWy and heedlessly part from the 
only creatures who cared for him ; but he kept his 
thought to himself. 

The boy felt curiosity, satisfaction, and reptirniFiC' 
all at the same time, when he gave himself ii lo the 
hands of the servants, who led him to a r^ t, ; h:f>:. 
bath, anointed him with sweet-smelling oil, ani' .lui 
him in a silken garment. But he desired to Ici.v: 
what life in the royal palace was like. And gradu.\ >• 
its splendour began to enfold him. The Arabian 
tales which his father loved to tell him contained 
marvels and splendours, but nothing to be com- 
pared with the magnificence and brilliance that 
now assailed his senses. Marble staircases as broad 
as streets, halls as lofty as temples, marble pillars, 
brilliantly painted domes. The sun came through 
the windows in every colour there is, and was reflected 
red, blue, green, and gold by the shining walls. But 
more fairy-like were the nights, when thousands of 
lamps burned in the halls, a forest of candelabra 



70 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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shone like a conflagration kept within bounds ; when 
the courtiers seemed to sink into the carpets and 
divans and silken and down coverlets ; when the 
sweet-smelling incense rose from the golden censers 
and intoxicated the brain ; when a hundred servants 
made ready the banquet of indescribable luxury, 
and carried it in silver dishes, alabaster bowls, and 
crystal goblets ; when youths and maidens, with 
arms entwined, crowned each other with wreaths of 
roses ; when the fanfares sounded, and the cymbals 
clashed, and song gushed from maidens' throats ; and 
when at length Pharaoh entered in flowing purple robes 
adorned with a thousand sparkling diamond stars — 
on his head an indented coronet, shining like car- 
buncle—the god ! the sun-god ! On all this our boy 
from the Nile hut looked as at something wonderful 
that had nothing to do with him. A fan of shim- 
mering peacocks' feathers was put into his hand. 
Other boys had similar fans, and with half-bared 
limbs stood close to the gu* ; and fanned them into 
coolness. Young Jesus was to do that for Pharaoh, 
but he did not do it, and sat on the floor and never 
grew weary of looking at Pharaoh's pale face. The 
king answered his gaze kindly : " I think that is the 
proud youth from the Nile, who does not desire to sit 
at the feet of Pharaoh." 

" He shall sit at the right hand of God," sang the 
choir. Slowly, with the air of an irritated lion, the 
king turned his head in order to see what stupid 
choirmaster mingled Hebrev verses with the hymn 
of Osiris. Then ensued noise and confusion. The 
windows, behind which was the darkness, shone with 
a red light. The people had assembled before the 
palace with torches in order to do homage to Pharaoh, 
the son of Light. The king looked annoyed. Such 






OF THE CROSS 



71 



homage was repeated every new moon — he desired it, 
and yet it bored him. He beckoned to the cup- 
bearers, he wanted a goblet of wine. That brought 
the blood to his cheeks, and the light to his eyes. He 
joined in the hymn of praise to Osiris, and his whole 
form glowed with strength and gladness. 

When the quiet night succeeded the luxurious day, 
so still was it that the lapping of the waves of the 
Nile might be heard. Jesus lay on a curtained couch 
of down, and could not sleep. How well he had slept 
in the hut by the Nile ! He was hot and rose and 
looked out of the window. The stars sparkled like 
tiny suns. He lay down again, prayed to his Father, 
and fell asleep. The next day, when the feast was 
over, he would find the rooms in which the old 
writings were kept, and the teachers who would in- 
struct him. But it was not like the feast that comes to 
an end ; it was repeated every day at the king's court. 

It happened one night that the slaves stole around 
and woke each other. Jesus became aware of the 
subdued noise and asked the cause. One approached 
him and whispered, " Pharaoh weeps ! " Like a mys- 
terious breath of wind it went through the palace, 
" Pharaoh weeps ! " Then all was still again, and the 
dreaming night lay over everything. 

Jesus did not lie down again on the soft cushions, 
he rested on the cool floor and thought. The king 
weeps ! Arabia and India, Greece and Rome have 
sent their costliest treasures to Memphis. Phoenician 
ships cruise off the coasts of Gaul, Albion, and 
Germany in order to obtain treasure for the great 
Pharaoh. His people surround him day after day 
with homage, his life is at its prime. And he weeps? 
Was it not perhaps that he sobbed in his dreams, or it 
may be laughed ? But the watchers think he weeps. 



CHAPTER VII 



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And the days passed by. As the king had said, the 
boy was free. But he stayed on at the palace because 
he hoped one day to find the room in which the 
manuscripts were kept. He often strolled through 
the town and the palm-grove down to the river to see 
his parents. Thousands of slaves were working at the 
sluices of the stream which fertilised the land. The 
overseer scourged them lustily, so that many of them 
fell down exhausted and even dying. Jesus looked 
on and denounced such barbarity, until he, too, 
received a blow. Then he went out to the Pyramids 
where the Pharaohs slept, and listened if they were 
not weeping. He went into the Temple of Osiris 
and looked at the monster idols, fat, soulless, 
ugly, between the rounded pillars. He searched 
the palace untiringly for the hall in which the 
writings were kept, and at last he came upon it. 
But it was closed: its custodians were hunting 
jackals and tigers in the desert. They found i*t 
dark and dreary there among the great minds of 
old; the splendour and luxury of the court did 
not penetrate to the hall of writings. 

Then nights came again when whispers ran through 
the halls, "Pharaoh weeps." And the reason, too, 
was whispered. He had caused the woman he loved 
best to be strangled, and now the astrologers declared 

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A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 73 



that she was innocent. One day the king lay on his 
couch and desired that the boy from the Nile should 
be summoned to fan him. As the king was sick, 
Jesus agreed to go. Pharaoh was ill-humoured and 
impatient, neither fan nor fanning was right, and 
when the boy left off that was not right cither. 

Tlien Jesus said suddenly: "Pharaoh, you arc 
sick." 

The king stared at him in astonishment. A page 
dare to open his mouth and speak to the Son of 
Light! When, however, he saw the sad, sincere 
expression of sympathy in the boy's countenance 
he became calmer, and said : " Yes, my boy, I am 
sick." 

" King," said Jesus, " I know what is the matter 
with you." 
" You know ! " 

"You keep shadows within and light without. 
Reverse it." 

Direct'y the boy had said that Pharaoh got up, 
thinner and taller than he usually appeared to be, 
and haughtily pointed to the door, an angry light 
in his eyes. 

The boy went out quietly, and did not look back. 

But his words were not forgotten. In the noise 
and tumult of the daytime Pharaoh did not hear 
them ; in the night, when all the brilliance was 
extinguished and only the miserable and unhappy 
waked, he heard softly echoed from wall to wall of 
his chamber, " Reverse it ! Bring the light inside ! " 

Shortly before that time Jesus had discovered an 
aged scholar who dwelt outside the gate of Thebes, 
in a vaulted cave at the foot of the Pyramid. He 
would have nothing to do with any living thing 
except a goat of the desert which furnished him with 



74 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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milk. And as he kept always within the darkness of 
the vault, bending over endless hieroglyphics on half- 
decomposed slabs of stone, on excavated household 
vessels, ana papyrus rolls, the goat likewise never saw 
the sun. Both were contented with the food brought 
them daily by an old fellah. The hermit was one who 
had surely reversed things— shadow without and light 
within. When Pharaoh dismissed Jesus, he sought 
the learned cave-dweller in order to find wisdom. 
At first the old man would not let him come in. 
What had young blood to do with wisdom? 

" My son, first grow old, and then come and seek 
wisdom in the old writings," 

The boy answered : " Do you give wisdom only for 
dying ? I want it for living." 

Then the old man let him in. 

Jesus now visited the wise man every day and lis- 
tened to his teachings about the world and life, and 
also about eternal life. The hermit spoke of the 
transmigration of souls, how in the course of ages 
souls must pass through all beings, live through all the 
circles of existence, according as their conduct led 
them upwardi to the gods, or downwards to the 
worms in the mud. Therefore we should love the 
animals which the souls of men may inhabit. He 
spoke with deep awe of the serpent Kebados, and of 
the sublime Apis in the Temple of Memphis. He 
lost himself in all the depths and shoals of thought, 
verified everything by the hieroglyphics, and declared 
it to be scientific truth. So that the man who lived 
in the dark discoursed to the boy on light. He 
spoke of the all-holy sun-god Osiris who created 
everything and destroyed everything — the great, the 
adorable Osiris by whose eye every creature was 
absorbed. Then he would again solemnly and mys- 






OF THE CROSS 



75 



teriously murmur incomprehensible formula, and the 
eager boy grew weary. Here, too, something evi- 
dently had to be reversed. So thinking, he went 
quietly forth and left the little gate open. When the 
old man looked up at him, there he was in the open 
air pasturing the goat, who, delighted at her liberty, 
was capering round on the grass. 

" Why do you not show your reverence for 
truth ? " he said, ■^provingly. 

And Jesus : " Don't you see that I am proving my 
reverence for your teaching. You say : We must 
love animals. Therefore I led the goat out into the 
open air, that she may feed on the fragrant grass. 
You say that we should kindle our eye at that of the 
sun-god, therefore I went out with the goat from 
the dark vault into the bright sunlight." 

" You must learn to understand the writings." 

" I want to know living creatures." 

The old man looked at the boy with an air of 
vexation. " Tell me, you bold son of man, under 
what sign of the zodiac were you born ? " 

" Under that of the ox and the ass," answered the 
boy Jesus. 

The man of learning immediately hurried into his 
cave, lighted his lamp, and consulted his hiero- 
glyphics. Under the ox and the ass — he grew 
afraid. Away with Libra, away with Libra ! He 
investigated yet again. It stood written on the 
stone and in the roll. He went out again, and 
looked at the boy, but differently from before, un- 
easily, in great excitement. 

" Listen, boy, I've cast your horoscope." 

" What is it ? " 

" By the ancient and sacred signs I've read your 
fate. Knowing under what sign of the zodiac and 



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76 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

under which stars you were born, I can enhghten you 
as to the fate you go to meet so callously. Do you 
desire to know it ? " 

" If I desire to know it, I will ask my Father." 
" Is your father an astrologer ? " 
" He guides the stars in their courses." 
" He ;'uides the stars in their courses ? What do 
you mean ? You are a fool, a godless fool. You will 
learn what terrors await you. This arrogance is the 
beginning. His Father guides the stars in their 
courses indeed ! " 



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CHAPTER VIII 



News came from Jud.-ea that King Herod was dead. 
It was also reported that his successor, called Herod 
the younger, was of milder temperament and a true 
friend of his people. So Joseph considered that the 
time was now come when he might return to his 
native land with his wife and his tall, slender son. 
His basket-making, through industry and thrift, had, 
almost without his noticing it, put so much money into 
his pocket that he was able to treat with a Phoenician 
merchant regarding the journey home. For they 
would not go back across the desert : Joseph wanted 
to show his family the sea. He took willow twigs 
with him in order to have something to do during 
the voyage. Mary occupied herself in repairing and 
making clothes, so that she might be nicely dressed 
when she arrived home. The other passengers who 
were in the big ship were glad of the idleness, and 
amused themselves in all sorts of ways. Jesus often 
joined them, and rejoiced with those who were glad. 
But when the amusement degenerated into extrava- 
gance and shamelessness, he retired to the cabin, or 
looked at the wide expanse of waters. 

One moonlight night when they were on the high 
seas, a storm sprang up. The ship's keel was lifted 
high at one moment only to dip low the next, 
so that the waves broke over the deck ; bundles 

77 



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A PRISONERS STORY 



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and chests were thrown about, and a salt stream 
struck the travellers' faces. The rigging broke 
away from the masts, and fluttered loosely in the 
air out into the dark sea which heaved endlessly 
m mountains of foam, and threatened to engulf the 
groaning ship. The people were mad with terror 
and anguish, and, reeling and staggering, sought refuge 
in every corner in order to avoid the falling beams and 
splinters. Joseph and Mary looked for Jesus, and found 
him quiedy asleep on a bench. The storm thundered 
over his head,the masts cracked, but he slept peacefully 
Mary bent over him, and climbed on to the bench so 
that they might not be hurled apart. She would let 
him sleep on, what could a mother's love do more? 
But Joseph thought it time to be prepared, and so 
they woke him. He stood on the deck and looked 
out into the wild confusion. He saw the moon fly 
from one wall of mist to the other, he saw dark 
monsters shoot up from the roaring abyss, and throw 
themselves on the ship with a crashing noise, and 
turn it on its side so that the masts almost touched 
the surface of the water, while birds of prey hovered 
above. The ship heaved from its inmost recesses and 
cracked from end to end as if it would burst, Jesus 
pale-faced, his eyes sparkling with delight, held on to 
the railing. Joseph and Mary tried to protect him 
He thrust them back, and without ceasing to gaze at 
the awful splendour, said: "Let me alone! Don't 
you see that I'm with my Father? " 

It is written of him that he is the only man who 
had no father on earth, and so he sought and found 
Him in heaven. 

Others who saw the youth that night became al- 
most calm in spate of their terror. If he is not afraid 
for his young life, is ours so much more valuable? 



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OF THE CROSS 



70 



And then, whether to conquer or to fail, they went to 
work with more courage to steer the ship, to mend 
the tackle with tow, to bale out the water, until 
gradually the storm subsided. When day dawned 
Jesus was still gazing with delight at the open sea, 
where he had watched the struggle of winds and waves, 
of light and darkness. At last he had found it—' 
light both within and without ! The helmsman blew 
his horn, and announced, " Land in sight ! " Far away 
over the dark-green water shone the cliffs of Joppa. 

When the ship was safely steered through the high 
cliffs into the harbour, our family landed in order to 
journey thence to Jerusalem on foot. For it was the 
time of the Passover, and it was many years since 
Joseph had celebrated it in Solomon's Temple. The 
feast— a memorial of the deliverance from Egypt- 
had now a double meaning for him. So he wished 
to make this d^four to the royal city on his way 
to his native Galilee, and especially that, after their 
sojourn in the land of the heathen, he might introduce 
Jesus to the public worship of the chosen people. 
Joseph and Mary clasped each other's hands in quiet 
joy when they were once again jci rneying through 
their native land, breathing its fresh air, seeing the 
well-known plants and creatures, hearing the familiar 
tongue. Jesus remained calm. If he found any 
childish memories there, they would be of the king 
who had persecuted him. He could regard the land 
with calm impartiality. And when he saw his 
parents so glad to be at home again, he thought how 
strange it was that lifeless earth should have so 
much power over the heart. Does not the Heavenly 
Father hold the whole earth in his hand ? Does not 
man carry his home within his own bosom? 

Their possessions were tied on to the back of a 



80 



A PRISONERS STORY 






camel, and they trudged cheerfully after it. Joseph 
carried an axe at his waist in order to defend them 
from attacks, but he only had occasion to try it on 
the blocks of wood that lay in the road, which he 
liked to hack at a little if they were good timber. 
The nearer they approached the capital the more 
animated the stony roads became. Pilgrims who 
were proceeding to the great festival in the holy 
place streamed along the paths. After sunset on 
the second day our travellers found themselves at 
an inn in Jerusalem. Joseph could afford to be more 
independent than he had been twelve years back- 
he had money in his pocket ! Their first walk was 
to the Temple. They hastened their steps when 
passing Herod's palace. 

The Temple stood in wondrous splendour. All 
sorts of people filled the forecourt, hurrying, pushing, 
and shouting, pressing forward throuf^h the lines of 
pillars into the Holy Place, and thence into the Holy 
of Holies, where the ark of the covenant stood, 
flanked by golden candelabra. Every fifth man 
wore the robes of a rabbi, and was thus sure "f his 
place in the Temple as one learned in the law. 
Pharisees and Sadducees, two hostile parties in the 
interpretation of the law, talked together of tithes 
and tribute, or entered on lively disputes over the 
laws of the Scriptures, a subject on which they never 
agreed. Joseph and Mary did not observe that 
others were quarrelling; they humbly obeyed the 
rules, and stood in a niche of the Holy Place and 
prayed. But Jesus stood by the pillars and listened 
to the disputants with astonishment. 

The next day they inspected the city as far as the 
crowds rendered it possible. Joseph wished to visit 
the grave of his noble ancestor, and pushed through 



f 



OF THE CROSS 81 

the crowds that filled the dark, narrow streets, noisy 
with buyers and sellers, donkey-drivers, porters, 
shouting rabbis, and an endless stream of pilgrims. 
When they reached David's tomb Jesus was not with 
them. Joseph thought that he had remained behind 
in the crowd, and, feeling quite easy about him, paid 
his devotions at the tomb of his royal ancestor. 
When they returned to the inn, where they thought 
to find Jesus, he was not there ; time passed, and he 
did not come. Some one said he had joined a party 
of pilgrims going to Galilee, because he thought that 
his parents had already set out. " How could he 
think that ? " exclaimed Joseph. " As if we should 
go without him!" 

They hurried off to fetch their son, but when they 
came up with the pilgrims, Jesus was not there, 
nothing was known of him, and his parents returned 
to the town. They sought him there for two whole 
days. They visited every quarter of the city, searched 
all the public buildings, inquired of every curator, 
asked at the strangers' office, questioned all the' 
shopkeepers about the tall boy with pale face, brown 
hair, and an Egyptian fez on his head. But no 
one had seen him. They returned to the inn, fully 
expecting to find him there. But there was no sign 
of him. Mary, who was almost fainting with anxiety, 
declared that he must have fallen into the hands of 
Herod. Joseph comforted her, though he was 
himself in sad need of consolation. 

Poor mother," he said, drawing her head down on 
his breast, " let us go and place our trouble before the 
Lord." 

And when they had gone up into the Temple, there, 
among the scholars and the men learned in the law 
they found Jesus. The youth sat among the grey- 

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82 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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bearded rabbis, and carried on a lively conversation 
with them, so that his cheeks glowed and his eyes 
shone. Judgment had to be pronounced on a serious 
case of transgression of the law. A man in Jerusalem 
had baked bread on the Sabbath, because his 
neighbour had been unable to lend him the oven 
the day before. The Pharisees met together, and 
eagerly brought forward a crowd of statutes regard- 
ing the culpability of the transgressor. Young Jesus 
listened attentively for a while, and then suddenly 
stepped out of the crowd. Placing himself in front 
of the learned men, he asked : " Rabbis, ought a man 
to do good on the Sabbath or not ? " 

They did not know at first whether to honour this 
bold young man with an answer. But there is a 
precept in the law which declares that every inquirer 
must be answered, so one of them said curtly and 
roughly : " Of course a man should do good." 

Jesus inquired further: "Is life a good thine or 
not?" ^ 

" As it is the gift of God, it is a good thing." 
" Should a man then preserve life or harm it on the 
Sabbath?" 

The wise men were silent, for they would have 
been compelled to acknowledge that life must be 
preserved on the Sabbath, and their accusation of the 
man who had baked bread for his food would have 
fallen to the ground. 

Jesus walked quickly up the steps to the table, 
and said : " Rabbis, if a sheep fell into a brook on 
the Sabbath, would you leave it there till the next 
day? You would not first think: To-day is the 
Sabbath day, but you would pull it out before it was 
drowned. Which is of greater value, a sheep or a 
man ? If a sick man comes on the Sabbath day, and 



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OF THE CROSS 83 

needs help, it is given him at once. And if you have 
a sphnter in your flesh, no one asks if it is the 
babbath ; the sph'nter must be taken out. But you 
come with your laws against a poor man who was 
obliged to prepare his food on the Sabbath, and you 
imagine yourselves better than he is. No, that will not 
do. The intention must decide. If any one bakes 
bread on the Sabbath. I should say to him : ' Is it for 
your own good or for gain?' In the first case you 

Sabba'th"? " ^ ^' '" ^^^ '^'^ ^'°" ^^'^"''^'^ '^^ 

H.:^^ A^^u "r ^'"^ "°' ^"°^ ^^*^at to say, they 

to d- ;t^^^^^^^^^ ^°"^' ^^^ ^°° '•"^'•^-•^-"^ ^- th- 

Jesus. Ftill excited, came down and joined the 

lirtl^ his mother was wringing her hands over 

elders and the wise men. She stretched her arms 
towards him. " Child ! child I What are you doing 
here? Why treat us so? What we have nof 
suffered on your behalf! We have sought you fo 
three whole days in the greatest anxiety." 

Then Jesus said: "Why did you seek me? He 
people" \ t '°^°' ^T^^ ^'-^y^ ^'^y -th his own 
busfness." '^°"' ""^ ""^^""^^ father's 

" Where were you all the time ? " 
h.^^ ^^uT ^"'''^'- ^^^^'' "^'ght have told how 

stnl'f thl ;Tk-'' ^"I"^ ^'^^^"'"S '^ ^h- ^-c- 
iTnger ""''^ ^" '°"^^ ^''P ^»^"<^« "o 

Joseph said to him with some severity : " If you are 
learned enough to interpret the Scriptures to those 
honouraWe men, you must know the fourth command! 
ment : Honour thy father and thy mother thaTthy 



84 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 



. 



I 



days may be long in the land which the Lord thy 
God giveth thee.'" 
Jesus said nothing. 

" And now, my son, we will betake ourselves to 
that land." 

And so they set out on the last stage of their 
journey. It was hard walking over the vineyards of 
Judaea and Samaria, and Mary, when they were quite 
near home, asked if she should ever see Nazareth 
again. Jesus marched the distance, so to speak, twice, 
for he was never tired of turning aside to gather 
dates, currants, and figs, or to fetch a pitcher of water 
in order that his parents might quench their thirst. 
So they went slowly over the rocky land, and when 
the mule-path led to an eminence over which flat 
stones lay scattered, and which was thickly sown with 
stumpy shrubs, the fertile plain of Israel lay before 
them. It was surrounded by wooded hills. White 
villages were scattered about its surface, and shining 
rivers wound through it. Opposite, one range of 
mountains showed behind the other, and the highest 
lifted their snowy peaks into the blue sky. 

Joseph let fall the camel's guiding rein and his 
staff, extended his arms and exclaimed : " Praise the 
Lord, oh my soul ! " For Galilee, his native place, 
lay before him. 

When they saw the little town of Nazareth nestling 
in a bend of the hills— ah ! how small the place was, 
and how peaceful amid the green hills !— Mary wept 
for joy. 



CHAPTER IX 

The inhabitants of Nazareth were not a little 
astonished to see Joseph, the carpenter, who had so 
long disappeared from their midst, walk up the street 
with his wife and a handsome boy. It was a good 
thing that they had baggage with thf i. But Cousin 
Nathaniel made a very wry face, in .^hich the smile 
of welcome struggled with the anxiety this unex- 
pected arrival caused him. Cousin Nathaniel had 
taken possession of, and settled comfortably in the 
house, regarding himself as the heir. Now he must 
pack up and go. 

Joseph was delighted to see his workshop again, 
with its vice, benc^, yardstick, plane, and saw. The 
red dyeing vat was also there, and the cord with 
which the timber was measured before the axe was 
used on it. < 3in Nathaniel declared that many of 
the tools belonged to him, until Joseph pointed to the 
J with which all his things were marked for the sake 
of order. When the old workman tied on his apron, 
and for the first time set to work with the plane so 
that the fine shavings flew whirring about, his blood 
flowed swiftly for delight, and his eye looked like 
that of a young man. And so the carpenter began 
cheerfully to work again, not only in his own shop, 
but anywhere in the neighbourhood where building 



86 



A PRISONER'S STORY 






ml 



Hi 



or repairing was required, or tables hests, or benches 
were needed. The little property ^e had brought 
from Egypt would be increased here, so that when 
the time came, his son should make a good start 
in life. Mary helped him with careful and econo- 
mical housekeeping, and made undergarments and 
cloaks for the women of Nazareth. Jesus had a 
room to himself to which he could withdraw when 
work was over. Joseph hoped, by making him com- 
fortable at home, to counteract the attractions of the 
outs- ^e world. The vine trellises could be clearly 
seen through the windows of the room, and a hill with 
olive-trees, and clouds from Lebanon passing over the 
sky, and the stars that rose in the east. The first 
gleam of sun. moon, and stars, when they rose fell 
into that peaceful chamber. The Books of Moses, the 
Maccabees, the Kings, the Prophets, and Psalmists 
which Jesus gradually collected in Nazareth, Cana 
Nam, and m villages below round the lake, filled a 
shelf. The men of Galilee had become indifferent to 
the works which their forefathers wrote with toil and 
reverence ; they had had to wait too long for the ful- 
filment of the prophecies, and began to doubt that a 
Messiah would ever come to the Jews, so that they were 
quite pleased to give the parchments to that nice be- 
ef Joseph's. If they wanted to know anything, they 
had only to ask him, and he explained it so clearly and 
concisely, and sometimes sc, impressively, that they 
never forgot it again. That was much easier than 
awKwardly searching for themselves, and labouring 
hard to decipher the words only to oe unable to 
understand them when they had done st. 

Many a night, by the light of the moon, did Jesus 
read in his books. They were the same as those 
wc read to-day when we open the Old Testament 



OF THE CR03S 



87 



So that it is as if we sat with Jesus on the same 
school bench. He read of Adam and his sin, of 
Cain and his murder, of Abraham and his promise, 
of Noah and the deluge. He read of Jacob and 
his sons, of Joseph whom his brothers sold into 
Egrypt, and of his fate in that land. And he read 
of Moses the great lawgiver, of David the shepherd, 
minstrel, and king, and of Solomon's wisdom and 
of his temple, and of the Prophets who judged 
the people for their misdeeds, and prophesied the 
future kingdom. Jesus read the history of his people 
with a burning heart. He saw how the race had 
gradually gone from bad to worse. If he had at first 
rejoiced with ail enthusiasm, later on he became angry 
at the degeneration. Grief made him sleepless, and 
he peered thoughtfully into the starry heavens, 
asking : " What will deliver them from this misery ? " 
The stars were silent. But out of the distance, 
out of the stillness of eternity, it was proclaimed : 
I love them so deeply, that I shall send my own 
Son to make them happy. 

By day Joseph took care that the youth should 
not dream too much. Jesus must learn his trade. 
He did so willingly but not gladly, for his head 
was not with his hands, and while he should have 
joined two beams to make a door frame, the dark 
saying of the Prc^jhet sounded in his head : " He 
is numbered among the transgressors." 

"What are you doing there? Is that a door 
frame ? It's a cross ! " So Joseph awoke him out 
of his reverie, and Jesus was terrified to see that 
he had nailed the pieces of wood crosswise. 

"Tell me," said Joseph to the boy, "what are 
you thinking of? If you've any sense in your head 
use it for your honest work. The simplest handi- 



88 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



'U 




craft needs it all, and not only a piece here and 
there And especially carpentering, which builds 
people houses, bridges, ships, and yea, temples for 
Jehovah. You cannot imagine what mischief a bad 
carpenter may do. You're thinking of divine things ? 
Well, work is a divine thing. With work in his 
hands, man continues the creation of God. People 
say that you are clever ; then let your master see 
It. You make the tools blunt and the work is not 
clean and sharp. This can't go on, child." 

Jesus let the lecture pass in silence, and worked 
far mto the night to make the mischief good. 

Joseph confided his grief to his wife. Not that 
the boy would turn out a bad carpenter. If he 
liked he could succeed in anything. But Joseph 
was grieved to have to scold his favourite so often 
He had to do that to every apprentice. 

Mary said: "Joseph, you are quite right to direct 
him. I am indeed anxious. I observe the child 
carefully, and I am not satisfied. He is so different 
so very different from boys of his age." 

''I think, too, that he is different," said Joseph. 

We must not forget that from the very beginning 

It was different with this child. Jehovah understands 

It ; I can't fit it together. He reads too much, and 

tnats bad for young people." 

" And I almost fear he reads the Law in order 
to criticise it," said Mary. 

" He'll find himself. At his age boys exaggerate 
in everything." So Joseph consoled himself. " He's 
a smgular boy. Look at him when he plays with 
other children ! The tallest of them all I No, after 
all, I wouldn't have him other than he is." 

They had talked in sorrow and joy while Jesus 
was nailing the wood correctly out in the workshop. 



\m 



OF THE CROSS 



80 



H 



And when he had {rone to bed, Joseph crept into 
his room, and laid his hand gently on his head. 

And so the years went by. Jesus improved in his 
work, and grew in intelligence, and in cheerfiilners. 
The Sabbath day was all his own. He liked to go 
up to the hill top where the sheep were feeding 
among the stones and the olive-trees, whence he 
could see the mighty mountains of Lebanon and the 
wide landscape, partly green and fertile and partly 
barren, down to the lake. He stood there and 
thought. He was always friendly with the people 
he met or who were employed about him, but he 
seldom became intimate with them. Occasionally 
he would join in some athletic exercise with youths 
from Cana, and in wrestling, strive who could over- 
come the other. Then his soft brown hair would 
fly in the wind, his cheeks would glow, and when 
the game was over, he would return arm-in-arm 
with his advci-sary to the valley below. But he 
preferred to be alone with himself, or with silent 
nature. Beautiful ideas came springing like Iambs 
in that peaceful place, but there also came thoughts 
strong as lions. He dreamed. He did not think ; 
thought, as it were lay within himself, and then he 
spoke out many a word at which he was himself 
terrified. Ideas began to shape themselves within 
him, and before he was aware of it they were 
clearly s^joken by his tongue, as if it was another 
who spoke for him. And so he came out of the 
mysterious depths to the light. 

He was often challenged to dispute; he never 
defended himself except by words, but they were 
so weighty and fiery that people soon left him in 
peace. If he struck, he knew how to make the 
injury good. One day when he was going down 



Ij 



90 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

the defile to the stony moor, a mischlerous boy 
ran up behind him and knocked him down. Jesus 
quickly picked himself up, and shouted angrily to 
the boy, "Die!" When he saw the blazing eye, 
the boy turned deathly pale and began to tremble 
so that, near to fainting, he had to lean up against 
the rocky wall. Je us went up to him. laid his hand 
on his shoulder ana said kindly, •« Live ! " 

No one iu the whole countryside had ever seen 
such an eye as his. Like lightning in anger, in 
calmer moods like the gleam of dewdrop. upon 
flowers. * 



I rl 



I ill <i 



,1 






CHAPTER X 



As Jesus gradually grew to manhood he worked at 
his trade as a master. For Josepli was old and 
feeble, and could only sit by the bench, overlook 
the carpenters and teii them what it would be best 
to do. They had a young apprentice, a near relation, 
named John, who nelped Jesus with the carpentering 
and building. When they built a cottage in 
Nazareth, or roofed a house, he was severe and 
strict with the youth. But when on the Sabbath 
day they wandered together Lhrough the country 
between the vines, over the meadows with the stones 
.ind herds, sometimes through the dark cedar forests 
to the lower slopes of Lebanon, they said not a word 
aboui the work. They watched the animals, the 
plants, the streams, the hea.ens and their everlasting 
lights, and rejoiced exceedingly. Sometimes they 
assisted poor gardeners and shepherds, and did them 
trifling services. They taught John to blov^ the 
horn, and Jesus sang joyful psalms with a clear 
voice. 

But Joseph's death was approach ig. 

He lay half-blind on his bed, ana asked Mary how 
she would manage when he was gone. Thon he felt 
with his cold hand for Jesus. 

" My son, my son ! " 

w 



02 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



r * 






k s f 



Jesus wiped the dying man's brow with the hem 
of his garment. 

"I had hoped," said Joseph softly, •• but it is not 
to be. I must depart in darkness." 

"Father," said Jesus, and tenderly stroked his 
head. 

" It is hard, my child. Stay beside me. I had 
hoped to see the Messiah and his lirrht Hut I 
must be gathered to my fathers in darkness." 

•He will soon come and lead you to paradise." 
^ The old man grasped his hand convulsively. " It 
IS ^u.te dark. I am afraid. Stay with me, my 
Jesus." ' 

And so he fell asleep for ever. 

They buried him outside the city under the walls 
Jesus planted the staff which Joseph had cut during 
the flight into Egypt, and had always carried with 
him, on the mound. And no sooner was it planted 
in the earth than it began to bear young shoots 
And when Mary went the next day to pray there, 
behold the grave was surrounded with white lilies 
which grew from the stick and £.pread themselves in 
rows over the mound. 

After the old master's death trouble befel th*- 
family. People began to take their orders for work 
elsewhere, for they found it difficult to get on with 
the young master. A man who went against the 
Scriptures and traditional custom in so many things 
could not do his work properly. He seldom at- 
tended public worship in the Temple, and was never 
seen to give alms. In tiie morning he went down 
to the spring and washed himself, but otherwise he 
omitted all the prescribed ablutions. When the 
Rabbi of Nazareth reproached him for such conduct 
he replied : " Who ought to wash, the clean or the 



OF THE CROSS 



03 



unclean ? Moses knew this people when he made 
washing a law for them. Does uncleanncss come 
from within or without? It is not the Just of the 
street that soils a man, but the evil thoui;hts of 
his heart. Is it unseemly to cat honest bread 
with dusty hands? Is it not more unsec ily to 
take away your brother's bread with clean hands?" 

The Rabbi considered that it would be foolish 
to waste more words on this transit ^sor of the 
law, and went his way. But next day he informed 
the carpenter that he was to stand on the Sabbath 
behind the poor-box, in ord- • to see whether the 
well-.vashed hands of believing Jews took the bread 
away from their brothrrs,or, rather, did not bestow it 
liberally upon them. And as Jesus stood in the 
Temple, he observed the well-to-do Nazarenes dip 
their hands into the basin, with pious air throw large 
pieces of money into the poor-box, and then look 
round to see if their good example was observed. 
When it grew dark, a poor woman came and with 
her lean fingers put a farthing into the poor-box. 

" Well, what do you say now ? " asked the Rabbi of 
the carpenter. 

Jesus answered : " I think the haughty rich people 
have washed themselves, and that still they give with 
unclean hands. They give away a small part of 
what they have taken from others, and give from 
their superabundance. The poor woman gave the 
largest gift in God's eyes. She gave all that she 
possessed." 

And so it haijpened that Jesus became more and 
more estranged from Nazareth. Only poor folk and 
little children were attracted to him : he cheer( J the 
former and playtd with the latter. But otherwise 
men drew apart from him, considering him an 



:, I 



94 



fl^l* 






P 



I 
I 






I 



If 



I f 



^-l 1 
ytt .4, 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



cccentnc creature and perhaps a little dangerous 
H,s mother sometimes tried to defend him- he had 
grown up in a foreign land among Strang customs 
and ways of thought At bottom1,e had^he STf 
utures.sokmd and helpful to others and so severe 

harnol hTdlh ."°" '^ ' "'°*" ' What mothe 
nas not had the best of children ? Thev desni«.H 

r '^T'^t ""'' P'''^ her because hef so?was 
»unl,ke other boys and caused her anxiey There 

7tTckt7 whT"""" """ *"•= work';he„ h" 
such w .A' * "^"P^ter he might be with 
such aptness I Only h^ should not interfere „ 
things he could not understand, and should not 
d-sturb people's belief in the ' religiof of thl' 

tow^^f''^^ ""^'^r' ^ '"^'■"■^ee in the neighbouring 

for th.h r^- ^"y ^"'^ ^^' '«'^"v« wefe invited 
for the bridegroom was a distant cousin. So far as 16^ 
wa^ concerned, there would have been no great erief 

pleasure m the old marriage customs and the traditions 
to wh,ch they still held. Jesus understood the ireny 
but It d,d not hurt him, and so he went to the maS 
m order to rejoice with the joyful When thTZ^ 

sTd ' Tth ' t'';"^'^';'' ^-^ ^-- h!!^ - -^ra"d 

said . I think It would be well if we went home now 

gtef out ■' "" ^"'"'^' '°' ' "-' '"e wL has 

.„.^^^1 T^^" " '° ""^ "■ 'here's no more wine" 
answered Jesus, almost roughly. "I do not wal.'t 

embttsltd °'r" •\"'''' '^°- ^h- host is greatly 
embarrassed. I wish some one could help him " 

If they are tnirsty, have the water jugs brought 



OF THE CROSS 



95 






4 



in," he said. " If the drinker has faith in his God 
then the water will be wine. He will be well 
content." 

The host, in fact, saw no other way of satisfying 
his guests' thirst than in ordering large stone pitchers 
of water to be brought in from the well. He was 
vastly amazed when the guests found it delicious, and 
praised the wine that had just been poured out for 
them. " Usually," they said, « the host produces his 
best wine first, and when the carousers have drunk 
freely, he brings in worse. Our good host thinks 
differently, and to the best food adds the best 
wine." 

But Jesus and his relations saw how the pitchers 
were filled at the well, and when they tasted their 
contents, some declared that things could not be 
all right here. Jesus himself drank, and saw that it 
was wine. Much moved, he went out into the starry 
night. "Oh, Father!" he said in his heart, "what 
dost thou intend with regard to this son of man ? If 
It is thy will that water shall be turned into wine, it 
may then be possible to pour new wine into the old 
skins, the spirit and strength of God into the dead 
letter I " 

^^ John went out into the night to seek his master. 
Sir, said the youth, when he stood before him 
" what does it mean ? They say that you have 
turned water into wine. I have often thought that 
you were different from all of us. You must be from 
Heaven." 

" And why not you also, John, who look up to it ? 
Can any one attain the height who has not come 
from it ? " 

John remained standing by his side for a while 
It was not always easy to grasp what he meant 



IH 



■■%. f 



06 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



il 






On their homeward way by night, the mother un- 
burdened her anxious heart to her son. « You are so 
good, my child, and help people wherever you can. 
Why are you often so rough of speech ? " 

" Because they do not understand me," he replied ; 
"because you, none of you, understand me. You 
thmk that if a man works at his wood in the car- 
penter's shop, then he's doing all that is necessary." 

" Wood ? Of course a carpenter has to work with 
wood. Do you want to be a stonemason ? Think 
stones are harder than wood." ' 

" But they give fire when struck together. Wood 
gives no sparks, nor wpuld the Nazarenes yield 
any. sparks, even if lightning struck them. They 
are like earth and damp straw. They are incapable 
of enthusiasm : they are only capable of languid 
irritation. But you'll not build a kingdom of 
heaven with irritation. I despise the wood that 
always smokes and never burns." 

" My son, I fear you will make such enemies of 
them that " 

"That I shall not be able to stay in Nazareth. 
Isn t that what you mean, mother ? " 

"I am anxious about you, my son." 

" Happy the mother who is nothing worse I 
am quite safe." He stopped and took her hand 
" Mother, I'm no longer a child or a boy. Do not 
trouble about me. Let me be as I am, and go where 
I will. There are other tasks to be fulfilled than 
building Jonas a cottage or Sarah a sheep-pen. The 
old world is breaking up, and the old heaven is falling 
into ruin. Let me go, mother ; let me be the carpenter 
who shall build up the kingdom of heaven." 

The constellations spread themselves across the 
sky. Mary let her son go on before, down to the 



OF THE CROSS 97 

little town; she walked slowly behind and wept. 
She stood alone and had no influence with him. 
fc-very day he became more incomprehensible. 
1 o what would it lead ? 






1*1 



8 



I 



i 



I' 
p 

I 






iMif 






CHAPTER XI 

A STRANGE excitement prevailed among the people 
m Galilee, and spread through Samaria and Judaea 
even to Jerusalem. A new prophet had arisen. 
There were many in those days, but this one was 
different from the rest. As is always the way in 
such times, at first a few people r aid heed feverishly, 
then they infected others with their unrest, and finally 
roused families and whole villages which had hitherto 
stood aloof. So at last all heeded the new prophet. 
At the time of the foreign rule old men had spoken of 
the King and Saviour who was to make the chosen 
people great and mighty. Expounders of the 
Scriptures had from generation to generation con- 
soled those who were waiting and longing. Men 
had grown impatient under the intolerable foreign 
oppression, and a national desire and a religious 
expectation such as had never before been known 
in so high a degree had manifested itself. 

And lo ! strange rumours went through the land. 
As the south wind of spring blows over Lebanon, 
melts the ice, and brings forth buds, so were the 
hearts of men filled with new hope. A man out in 
the wilderness was preaching a new doctrine. For a 
long while he preached to stones, because, he said, they 
were not so hard as men's understanding. The stones 
themselves would soon speak, the mountains be 

88 



A PBISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 99 

road m.ght be ready for the Holy Spirit which was 
drawing nigh. 

Men grew keenly interested in those tidings. Some 

.«ll'" tI"' ^° °"' *".'' ^^" '"■"' J"=« f" ^-nusemenfs 
sake. They came back and summoned others to 
go out and see the extraordinary man. He wore a 
garment of camel's hair instead of a cloak, and a 
leather girdle round his loins. His hair w;s long 

altT-T T"^"- '"■" '"" ^""''"™'' ^nd his eyes 

an Tlf .; , '"/'■'"'^- ^"' ^^ ^^' ""' »" Arab nor 

bv fh? I t if ' ^ T ""^ ""^ "^^ '^''°^™ P«°P'e- Down 
by the lake he was better known. He was the son of 

l/nH Tr r.P""'!^"'' * "^"« of the wonderful 
land of Galilee. The Galileans had at first mocked 
at him and with a side glance at Jesus, said : " What 
a blessed land IS Galilee, where new teachers of virtue 
are as plentiful as mushrooms in rainy weather ' " 
Jesus retorted by asking whether they knew what 

of repema^et " "'^ *"' °"'^ ''°'"^^' P--^"^ 

John. Mora and more people went out to hear 
him, and every one related marvels. He chased 

r^^rtf'" °" "'^'"' ""'' '-^ '"e honey fror^ 

the wild bees and swallowed it. He seemed t^ 

despise the ordinaiy food and customs of men Sin e 

he murder of the innocents at Bethlehem, he had 

the rocks of the mountain. It almost seemed that he 
loved wild beasts better than men, whose ^loak of 
virtue he hated because it was woven out of evil- 
smelling hypocrisy and wickedness 

They called him the herald. « We are surprised " 
they said, "that the Rabbis and High Prfesrin 



100 



A PRISONERS STORY 



it I 



Is ^ 



Capernaum, Tiberias, and Jerusalem should keep 
silent. They could put this man to death for his 
words." But the herald had no fear. He preached 
a new doctrine, and he poured water over the heads 
of those who joined him as a sign of the covenant. 
" And what is his teaching ? " asked others. 
" Go and hear for yourselves I " 
And so more and more people went out from Judaea 
and Galilee into the wilderness. The preacher had 
withdrawn a little way above the point where the 
river Jordan flows into the Dead Sea. The district, 
usually so deserted, was alive with all sorts of people! 
among them Rabbis and men learned in the law, who 
represented themselves as penitents, but desired to 
outwit the prophet with cunning. The preacher 
stood on a stone ; he held a corner of his camel's hair 
garment pressed against his hairy breast with one 
hand, and the other he stretched heavenwards and 
said : " Rabbis, are ye here too ? Are ye at last afraid 
of the wrath of heaven which ye see approaching, and 
so take refuge with him who calls on ye to repent ? 
Ye learned hypocrites ! Ye stone him who can hurt 
you with a breath, and praise him who brings with him 
a human sacrifice. See that your repentance does not 
become your judge. But if it is sii.cere, then receive 
the water on your head as a token that you desire to 
be pure in heart." 

Such were the words he spoke. The scholars 
laughed scornfully ; others grumbled at the severity 
of his remarks, but kneeled down. He took an 
earthen vessel, dipped it in the waters of Jordan, and 
poured it over their heads so that l:ttle streams ran 
down their necks and over their brows. A man 
raised his head and asked: "Will you give us 
commandments ? " 



■V. 



OF THE CROSS 



101 



The prophet answered: "You have two coats and 
only one body. Yonder against the oak is a man 
who has hkewise a body but no coat. I r^ive no 
commandments ; but you know what to do." " 

So the man went and gave his second coat to him 
who had none. 

A uan old man, a tax-gatherer from Jerusalem, 
asked what he should do. since every one he met in 
the streets had a coat on his back. 

" Do not ask more payment than is legal. Do not 
open your hand for silver pieces, nor shut your eyes 
to stolen goods." 

" And we ? " asked a Roman mercenary. " We are 
not the owners of our lives ; are we. too, to have no 
commandments?" 

" You have the sword. Jut the sword is violence, 
hatred lust, greed. Take care ! The sword is your 
sm and your judgment." 

^ And then women came to him with a triumphant 
air, and exclaimed : «' You wise man, you ! We have 
no rights, so we have no duties ? Is that not so ? » 

And the prophet said : " You assume rights for 
yourse'-es, and duties will be given you. The 

TdXry.' "°"''" ''^"''"' '" '' ' ^^°" '^'^' "°^ ^^"^"^'^ 

"And what do you say to men?" asked one of 
tnem. 

"Men have many commandments besides that 
one You must not tempt them with snares of the 
flesh, for they have more important things to do in 
rtie wond than to make themselves pleasant to women. 
You must not allure them with the colour of your 
cheeks, nor with the tangles of your hair, nor with your 
swelling breasts. You shall not attract the eye of 
man through beautiful garments and sparkling jewels 



102 



A PRISONERS STORY 





{ 



You shall not glisten like doves when you are false 
like snakes." 

The women were angry, and tried to set snares 
for him. So they smiled sweetly, and asked : " Your 
words of wisdom, oh prophet I only concern the 
women of the people. Royally-born women are 
excepted.' 

Then spoke the preacher : " Women born in the 
purple are of the same stuff as the leprous beeear- 
woman who lies in the street. No woman is excepted. 
The wives of kings live in the sight of all, and must 
obey the law twice and thrice as strictly. Since 
Herod put away his rightful wife, the Arab king's 
daughter, and lives openly in incest with his brotlier's 
wife, the angel of hell will strike at her." 

"You all hear," said the women, turning to the 
assembled cro«'d. Then they pulled up their gowns 
high over their ankles, stepped into the river where 
It is shallow, and bared their brown necks, in order 
that the wild preacher might pour the water over 
them. The men pressed closer, but the prophet tore 
a branch from the cedar and drove the hypocritical 
penitents back. Some were glad that sin had no 
power over this holy man. 

Then they sent an old man to him to ask who he 
really was. "Are you the Messiah whom we are 
expecting ? " 

^^ " I am not the Messiah," answered the preacher. 
But he is coming after me. I prepare the way for 
him like the morning breeze ere the sun rises. As 
thf heaven is above the earth, so is he greater than 
I. It IS my prayer that I may be worthy to loosen 
hi^ Shoe latchets. I sprinkle your heads with water • 
he will sprinkle them with fire. He will separate yoii 
according as your hearts be good or evil. He will 



OF THE CROSS 



103 



I 



lay up fhe wheat in the garner with his fan and burn 
the chaff. Prepare yourselves— the kingdom of God 
is nearer than ye think." 

The people were uneasy. Clouds came up over 
the mountains of Galilee, and their edges shone like 
silver. The air lay like a heavy weight over the 
valley of the Jordan, and not a twig stirred in the 
cedars. The strangers from Samaria and Judiea did 
not know the man who climbed down over the stones 
and went towards the preacher. He wore a blue 
woollen gown that came down over his knees, so that 
only his sandalled feet were seen. He might have 
been taken for a working man had not his head, with 
its high, pale forehead and heavy waving locks, been 
so royal. A soft beard sprang from his upper lip, 
and th-re was such a wonderfil light in his dark blue 
eyes that some were almost frightened by it. And 
they asked each other : " Who is the man with the 
fiery eyes ? " 

He reached the prophet. One hand hung down ; 
he held the other against his breast. He said softly • 
•' John, pour water over my head, too." 

The prophet looked at the young man and was 
terrified. He went back two steps— they knew not 
why. Did he himself know ? 

" You ! " he said, almost under his breath. " You 
desire to receive the token of repentance from 
me?" 

"I will do penance — for them all. I will begin 
with water what will be ended with blood." That is 
what they thought to hear. In a man who speaks 
like this, there is sor. thing incredibly spiritual. 

"He is a dreamer! He is a madman!" the 
people whisper one to another. 

" No, he's not, he's not ! " others declare. 



I! 






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^W A PRISONER'S STORY 

" Did he not speak of blood ? " 

"And as proud of it as a Roman." 
^ With eyes glowing like an Arab's." 

Germ^/'"^ "' ^^'^ ^'''' ^^^ '"'^^^ ^^^e him for a 

rl'JH! >' "^'^*'^' * ^°'"*"' "°' an Arab, nor a 
German." some one exclaimed, laughing • "he^sthr 
carpenter of Nazareth." ^' '^^ '^ ^*^'- 

•'The same who turned water into wine?" 

P Jy of the'J?/^ °' ^^°"- ^^-t h-. We know 
wa:oVL-s1cc:t^^^^^^^^^^ "^"^'^^ of the innocents 

looked' at'^h''°"^ ^'"'1 ''^''' '^'y ^'^^ q">«t. and 
looked at the new arrival with a sort of awe AnrI 

so old Herod had taken him for the Messiah-King ' 

A feehng of reverence s^.ead among the people 

For Jesus stepped into the river. The pSet 

h LTt^'' J'"'"^ ^" '^^ ^^^^^ and poured U over 
h^s I'ghtly-bent head. The edges of the cloudsl 
the heavens shone with the crimson light of evening 
The eyes of the bystanders were riveted by a white 

fi^.l-r'^'^V'"^'^ '''''' •" th« windows of helven 
^nnon J «— ^Joom and then like a fluttering 
pennon It was a dove that flew down and circled 
round the head of him who had Just been baptized 
My dearly beloved son ! " ^ 

«fH^^. M°^i^ whispered : "Whose voice was it that 
said ; My dearly beloved son ' ? " 

jusiSyUd ? '''° ''" ^^" ^^°- ^^^ -ter has 
A shudder seized many of them. It was just as if 
he was presented to men by the invisible God ! 



OF THE CROSS 



105 



" We will ask him himself whose son he is," they 
said, and pressed towards the river. But he had gone 
away, and the twilight of the desert lay over the 
stream. 

The same night Mary sat in her room at Nazareth, 
and sewed. She kept looking out of the window, 
for she would not go to bed till Jesus returned. 
When he had gone out of the door two days ago, he 
hp.d turned to her again, looked at her, and said : 
" Mother, I go to my Father." 

She thought he was going to the cemetery to pray 
at Joseph's tomb, as he often did. For in the city 
of tie dead solitua.- may be found. When he re- 
turned neither on the first 'day nor on the second, 
she began to feel anxious. She waited up the whole 
night. 

The next morning the little town rang with the 
news: "The carpenter has been seen with the 
preacher. He has been baptized." 

•• That's just like him. One enthusiast keeps com- 
pany with another." 

"It would be more correct to say with false 
prophets. For what else is it when a man de- 
clares that he can wash away sin with a dash of 
water ? " 

Thereupon a Sidonian donkey-driver, who had 
come down the street: "That's excellent! You 
Israelites can do so much with your ablutions. That 
would be a capital thing!" 

" Ah ! what things one hears ! Everything points 
to the speedy destruction of the world." And one 
whispered in his ear, "I tell you, frankly, ' yj 
be no great misfortune." 

" Now John has caught it. Do you know what he's 
always shouf'- ^ ? " 






106 A PRISONER'8 STORY OF THE CROSS 

" The young carpenter, his apprentice ? He's never 
said anything that matters." 

" Do you know what he's always exclaiming ? He 
strides through the streets, and his hair flies in the 
wind. He spreads out his hands before him, and 
says : « The word ha become flesh ( ' " 

They shook their heads. 

But Mary sat at the window and waited and 
watched. 



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CHAPTER XII 



A VERY short time after these events there came 
two soldiers to the Jordan, not to have the water 
poured over their heads, but to arrest the desert 
preacher and take him to Jerusalem to Herod. 
Heiod received him politely, and said : " I have sum- 
moned you here because I am told that you are the 
preacher." 

*' They call me preacher and Baptist." 

"I want to hear you. And, indeed, you must 
refute what your enemies say against you." 

"If it was only my enemies, it would be easy :o 
refute them." 

"They say that you insult my royal house, that 
you say the prince lives in incest with his brother's 
wife. Did you say that ? " 

" I do not deny it" 

" You have come to withdraw it ? " 

" Sire," said the prophet, " I have come to repeat it 
You are living in incest with your brother's wife. 
Know that the day of reckoning is at hand. It will 
come with its mercy, and it will come with its justice. 
Put away this woman." 

Herod grew white with rage that a man of the 
people should dare to speak thus to him. Royal ears 
cannot endure such a thing, so he put the preacher 
in prison. 



r 



108 



A PEISONERS STOBY 



M} 



But the next night the prince had a bad dream 

s!r : ?^"'r "'' "^ ^^" "^^ -'^ <•-" ='°ne "y 

stone mto the abyss ; he saw flames break out in the 

rang through the air. When he awoke the word! 

and he determmed to set the preacher free. 

h; K-T,"°"'.'^ "'™^ "'''^" "^™d should celebrate 

^]^'2^^- /'^^°"^^ °*"*^' -'•^dom advised th« 

pnnce had no reason for so doing. Herod gave a 
banquet m honour of the day, and invited fll the 
most important people in the province in order that 
while enjoymg themselves they might have the 
opportunity of doing homage to him He enjoyed 
himself royally, for Herodias, his brother's wifi, wts 
present, and her daughter, who was as lovely a her 

which showed her beautiful figure, set off by the flow- 
ing white gown confined at the waist with a girdle 
of gold to every advantage. Intoxicated by the 
feast and inflamed by the girl's beauty, the prince 

ZIT . r n"'' f ' ■"■' """■ f™-" ^hich the purple 
cloak had fallen back so that it was bare, round her 

Shr„.TH';".' "''i' ^°'"^' "' "'"« '° her lips 

"Who is the man who dares to be more fortunate 
than a kmg ? " asked Herod. 

^ "I do not yet know him." whispered the girl « He 
IS the man who shall give me the rarest bridal gift." 
And if It was Herod ? " 

The girl raised her almond eyes to the prince and 



OF THE CROSS 



109 



said nothing. He almost lost his head with the 
sweetness of the shining eyes. " You are an enchant- 
ing witch, you ! " he whispered. " Desire of me what 
you will." 

The beauty had been primed by her mother, who 
wished to be revenged on John, whose prophecies 
might tear her from her kingly lover. The daughter 
breathed the words: "A dish for your table, oh 
king ! " 

" A dish of meat ? Speak more plainly." 

" Let your bridal gift be a dish of rare meat on 
a golden charger." 

" I do not understand what you want." 

" The head of the Baptist." 

The king understood, turned aside, and said: 
" Horror, thy name is woman ! " 

Then she wept and murmured between her sobs : 
"I knew it. A woman is nothing to you but a 
flower of the field. You cut it down so that it turns 
to hay. And hay is for asses. You care more for 
the man who has mortally insulted yourself and my 
mother than you do for me." 

" Indeed, I do not ! If he deserves death, you shall 
have your desire." 

"When does he whom the king loves deserve 
death?" groaned the girl, and sank into a swoon. 
He lifted her up, drew her to his breast, and what 
her words could not accomplish the embrace did 
—it cost the Baptist his life. 

The banquet was most sumptuous. The most 
delicious viands, gathered from every quarter, and 
sparkhng wines graced the table. Harp players 
stood by the marble pillars, and sang praises to the 
kmg. Herod, a garland of red roses round his head 
sat between the two women. He drank freely of the 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



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Wine and so hurriedly that the hquid dripped from 
h.s long, thin beard. Was he afraid of the la^t 
course? It appeared at midnight. It was covered 
with a white cloth, and only the beautifully-chased 
edge of the charger was visible. Herod shuddered 
and signed that the dish should be placed before the 
young woman who sat on his left. She hastily pulled 
off the cloth, and behold! a man's head; the black 
hair and beard, steeped in the blood that ran from 
the neck lay m the charger. It stared with open 
eyes at the woman who, filled with voluptuous horror, 
leaned ck)sely against the prince. Then the mouth 
ot the head opened and spoke the words : " The 
Kingdom of God is near at hand ' " 
.. ^^u''J ^""Z confusion filled the banqueting hall. 
^ Who dared to say that?" shouted several toices. 

• riu^l ^^"^ °^ '^^ P''°P^^^ ^h° prophecies even 
m death ! 

Then a tumult arose in the palace, for this was 
the most terrible horror that the golden halls had 
ever seen. Long-restrained fury suddenly burst forth 
-the town was in flames, the men of Jerusalem 
rioted. The women were torn from Herod's side 
and flung into the streets to tU mercy of the mob.' 
The prince was forced to fly. The story goes that in 
his flight he fell into the hands of the Arab king who 
avenged his despised daughter in a terrible manner. 
Thus were godless hands stretched forth from 
Herod s house against him who bore witness to the 
coming One. 

After the act of baptism was accomplished. Jesus 
wandered for a long, long while-indeed, he paid no 
heed to time-along the banks of Jordan. Then he 
climbed the rocks, and when in the twilight he 



. M^ 



OF THE CROSS 



111 



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came to himself again and looked about, he saw 
that he was in the wilderness. The revelation 
vouchsafed at his baptism had snatched him from 
the earth. In that mysterious vision he had opened 
to him the new path which he had chosen to 
follow. What eternal peace surrounded him. Yet 
he was not alone among the barren rocks ; never 
in his life had he been less lonely than here in the 
dim terrors of the wilderness. A deep silence pre- 
vailed. The siars in the sky sparkled and sparkled, 
and the longer he gazed at them the more ardently 
the seemed to burn. Gradually they seemed 
to sink downwards, and to become suns, while 
fresh legions pressed ever forward from the back- 
ground, flying down unceasingly, the large and the 
small and the smallest, with new ones ever welling up 
from space — an inexhaustible source of heavenly light. 

Jesus stood up erect. And when he lifted up his 
face it seemed as if his eye was the nucleus of all light 

So he forgot the world and remained in the 
wilderness. Each day he penetrated deeper into it, 
past abysses and roaring beasts. The stones tore 
his feet, but he marked it not ; snakes stung 
his heels, but he noticed it not. Whence did 
he obtain nourishment? what cleft in the rocks 
afforded him shelter ?— that is immaterial to him 
who lives in God. Once he had regarded the 
world and its powers as hard taskmasters, and now 
they seemed to him to be as nothing, for in him 
and with him was eternal strength. The old 
traditional Jehovah of Jewish hearts was no more; his 
was the all-embracing One, who carried the heavens 
and the earth in his hand, who called to the 
children of men : Return ! and who stooped down 
to every seedling in order to awaken it. He him- 



112 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



self became conscious of God— and after that, what 
could bef^Jl him? 

One day he descended between the rocky stones 
to the coast of the Dead Sea that lay dark and still, 
little foam-tipped waves breaking on the shore. The 
expanse of water was lost in darkness in the distance 
and stretched away heavy and lifeless. Cleft blocks 
of stone were scattered along the beach, and their 
tops glowed as red as iron in the forge. It was the 
hour of sunset. The towering stones stood like giant 
torches, and the bright colour was reflected on the 
bare pebbles on which the water lapped. For many 
thousands of years the fine yellow sand had drifted 
down from the walls of rock, and lay over the wide 
sloping plains of the shore. It was like dry, light 
" stone-snow," and Jesus, who strode over it, left his 
footprints in it. The next gust of wind disturbed it 
the "stone-snow" was whirled about, and the dark 
stones were laid bare. Men are engulfed in those 
sand-fields, which, broken by blocks of stone, stretch 
away into infinity. Witness the bones which may 
be seen here and there, remains of dead beasts 
and also legs and skulls of men who perished as 
hermits, or became the prey of lions. Such skulls 
with their grinning teeth, warned the traveller to turn 
back as he valued his life. Here is death ! Jesus 
laid his hands over his breast. Here is life ! The 
greater the loneliness, the more keenly may the 
nearness of God be realised. 

Jesus preferred the rocky heights to the plain. 
He could see the wide expanse of the sky, and che 
clouds which wandered over its face and then disap- 
peared like nations of nomads. 

One day, in :iuch a spot, he met an Arab chief. 
He was of gigantic stature, dressed in the dark cloak 



at 

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11. 

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e, 

:s 
ir 
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OF THE CROSS 113 

snubH''^°"'"K' ^'l^ " ^''^' ^^^y b^^rd. and a 

were a pair of unsteady eyes. His belt was full of 

ST ^Z ""'t r' ^^°^"^^ ^^^h -n iron band 
which kept his wild hair in some sort of order. The 

and called him a worm who should pray that he 
might be mercifully trodden under foot. He must 

burne^K '''u^T' ^° *^^ ^^^^ chief, orbe 
burned up by the hot stones. 

J .-sus scarcely heeded the impertinent speech. He 

like'^toT ';' '\''r^'' - «"- on whom he would 
n hi so r° S^" the happiness that was triumphant 
in his soul. So full of love was he that he could not 
beant alone. And he said: "I am no worm to 
be trodden under foot. I am that Son of Man who 
brings you the new kingdom." 

"Ah! the Messiah! Jesus of Nazareth, are you 
s"oTdiersP"'"^ '"^' °' y^^' ^^'^^ - yLr 
spidt."^'" "°' '°"'^"'' ^'^^ '^^ ^^°'-^' b"t with the 

con^u'er"^ wfth \'h '^ ^'' -^f ^ mockingly. " Who will 
conquer with the spirit ! Well. I won't play the 
coffer. You are an orator, and that's something 
Listen, son of man ; I like you. I too delfS 
the new kingdom; let us go together." ' "' 

And Jesus replied : " Whoever wi.hes can go with 
me. I go with no one." ^ 

" My friend, don't you know me ? " asl^ed the 
stranger « I am Bar ' has. king of tl.e desert Three 

h^Taty'' Ther? ^'^'^^^ "°^^ ^"" 
MesIi^hT '" " " ''' ^° ^^^ '^•"^^°- of the 

What the chief called the key to the kingdom of 



•■ .: I, 



114 A PRISONER'S STORY 

the Messiah was an army which, scattered over the 
plain, resembled a dark spot spreading out in the 
desert, as busy and animated as an ant-hill The 
chief pointed down to it and said : " Look, the»e is 
my weapon. But I shall not conquer with that 
weapon, nor will you conquer with your words. For 
my weapons lack words, and your words lack 
weapons. I need the prophet and you the army. 
Warrior and orator allied, we shall take Jerusalem. 
I have made a mistake. For many years it has 
been my illusion that all strength lay in the body. 
And so I have cared for their bodies, fed and nourished 
them that they might become strong. But instead 
of becoming strong and daring, they have become 
indolent and cowardly And now that I wish to 
use this army to free judaea from the yoke of the 
Romans, they laugh in my face and answer me 
with words I once taught them. We have only 
this life, they cry, and we will not risk it any 
more. And when I ask, ' Not even for freedom?' 
they reply, ' Not even for freedom, because what is 
the use of freedom to us if we are slain.' In- 
dolent beasts! they lack enthusiasm. And now 
I find you. You are a master of oratory. You 
say that you will conquer with the spirit. Come 
with me ! Descend into the valley and inspire them 
with ardour. The legions are ours, our weapons are 
of perfect temper, nothing is wanting but fire, 
and that you have. The king must be allied 
with the zealot, otherwise the kingdom cannot be 
conquered. Come down with me. Tell them that 
vou are the prophet. Incite them against Jerusalem, 
Ind exclaim : ' It is God's will 1 ' If only fire can be 
made to burn within them, they wiil march like the 
very devil, overcome the foreigners, and you will 



OF THE CROSS 115 

instruct them in Solomon's Temple about the 
Mess,ah. You can tell t'.cm that he is coming or 
that you yourself are he. just as you please, "/hen 

^Zy *VTJ^'''''' y"" "" ^^'^Wish you 
kingdom, and all the glory of the world will lie at 
your feet as at those of a God. Come, prophe you 
give me the word, and I'll give you the sword " 
,„Au-^°"^' r" '™P'" "f hell I "exclaimed Jesus 

crid'^rbet"'"''^^^^"^''-^''''''-''"^-''- 

nXZl" ""''" '1"^ '^"^"^ '''y °f *' desert where 

love And thus was Jesus perfected. Leaving the 

out^men^ '°"^'" °"' ""^ ''^'^"^ '^"'' • ''^ ^""gh* 

His earthly task stood clear and fixed before him. 



CHAPTER XIII 



I: 



■i' ii 



The Lake of Gennesaret, also called the Sea of 
Galilee, lies to the east of Nazareth, where the land 
makes a gradual descent, and where, among the hills 
and the fertile plains, pleasant villages are situated. 
The mountains of Naphtali, which in some places 
rise up steeply from its banks, were clothed with 
herbage in the days of David. But gradually, as 
stranger peoples cultivated them, fertility descended 
to the hills and valleys. 

Near where the Jordan flows into the sea, on the 
left of the river under the sandy cliffs of Bethsaida, 
a small cedar forest, the seeds of which may have 
been blown thither from Lebanon, grows close down 
to the shore of the lake. A fisher-boat, rocking in 
the shade on the dark waters, was tied to one of the 
trees. The holes in it were stuffed with seaweed, the 
beams fastened with olive twigs. Two tall poles 
crossed were intended for the sail, which now lay 
spread out in the boat because the boatman was 
sleeping on it. The brown stuff, made of camel's hair, 
was the man's most valuable possession. On the 
water it caught the wind for him, on land it served as 
a cloak, if he slept it formed his bed. 

The little elderly man's face was tickled by a cedar 
twig for so long that at length he awoke. He saw a 
young woman sitting on a rock. She was just going 

U6 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 117 

to hurry off with her round basket when the fisher- 
man called loudly to her: "Well. Beka. daughter of 
Manasseh. whither are you taking your ivory white 

"My feet are as brown as yours," replied Beka. 
i>top mocking at me, Simon." 

ml^^ul?"..! ^ '"°*='''"^ ^' y°" ^ You're a fisher- 
man s child, like me. But your basket is too heavy 

•' I am taking my father his dinner." 

"Manasseh has had a good catch. Look, smoke is 
nsing yonder behind the palms of Hium. He is 
cook.ng the fish. But I have eaten nothing'since 
yesterday at the sixth hour." 

T V ""^^^^ ^^'^^^ '^^^' Simon. The fish of the 
Lake of Gennesaret do not swim ready-cooked into 

I'n^T. .1 "'7^'° ^'^' ^'^^ ^ ^h"^ '■" the cradle, 
and lets the gods provide ! " 

Simon, with his legs apart in order to preserve the 
balance, stood up in the boat. "Beka," he said. " let 
he gods alone, they won't feed us ; they eat the best 
that men have." 

birdJ'^^" ^°^^ t° the one God who feeds the 

"And who delivers the Jews to the Romans. No ; 
Jehovah won't help me either. So I'm forsaken and 
stand alone, a tottering reed." 

^ " ^u7 ""f.l ^^^P '^ '^^'^^ 't^"^ ^J°"e ? " asked the 
daughter of Manasseh. " Are there not daughters in 
Galilee who also stand alone ? " 

"Beka, I am glad that you speak so," replied the 
fisherman. "Why, how can Simon come to an under! 
standing with anybody so long as he can't come 
to an understanding with himself? And fishing 
delights me not. Everything is a burden. Often 



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A PRISONERS STORY 



when I lie here and look up into the blue sky, 
I think : If only a storm would come and drive me out 
on the open sea— into the wild, dark terror, then, 
Simon, you would lie there and extend your arms 
and say: Gods or God, do with me what you 
will." 

" Don't talk like that, Simon. You must not jest 
with the Lord. There, take it." 

And 5*^ saying, Beka took a magnificent bunch of 
grapes out of her basket, and handed it to him. 

He took it, and by way of thanks said : " Bcka, a 
year hence there'll be «ome one who will find in you 
that sweet experience -vhich I vainly seek in the 
Prophets." 

Whereupon she swiftly went her way towards the 
blue .«" hat ros*^ up behind the palms of Hium. 

It was no wonder that the fisherman gazed after 
her for a long time. Although he cared little for the 
society of his fellow-creatures, because they were too 
shallow to sympathise with what occupied his 
thoughts, he felt a cheerless void when he was alone. 
He was misunderstood on earth, and forsaken by 
Heaven. He feared the elements, and the Scriptures 
did not satisfy him. Then the little man threw 
himself on his face, put his hand into the water of 
the lake, and sprinkled his brow with it. He seated 
himself on the bench of the boat in order to enjoy 
Beka's gift. 

At the same moment the sand on the bank 
crackled, and a tall man, in a long brown cloak, and 
carrying a pilgrim's staff, came forward. His black 
beard fell almost to his waist, where a c"^ held the 
cloak together. His high forehead was shaded by 
a broad-brimmed hat; his eye was directed to the 
fisherman in the boat. 



OF THE CROSS 



110 



"Boatman, can you take three men across the 
lake ? " 

" The lake is wide," answered Simon, pointing to 
his fragile craft. 

" They want to get to Magdala to-day." 

" Then they can take the road by Bethsaida and 
Capernaum." 

" They are tiied," said the other. " They have 
travelled here from the desert, and by a wide dituur 
through Nazareth, Cana, and Lhorazin." 

" Are you one o{ them ? " asked Simon. " I ought 
to know you. Haven't we been fishing together at 
Hamath ? " 

"It may be that we know each other," was the 
somewhat roguish reply. In fact, they knew each 
other very well. Only Simon had become so 
strange. 

Now he said : " If it will really be of service to you, 
I'll go gladly. But you see for yourself that my boat 
IS bad. You are exhausted, my friend ; you have 
travelled far while I have rested in the shade the 
whole day. I haven't deserved any fine food. May 
I offer you these grapes ? " 

The black-bearded man bent down, took the 
grapes, and vanished behind the cypresses. 

He went to a shady spot where were two other 
men, both dressed in long, dark woollen garments. 
One was young and had delicate, almost feminine, 
features, and long hair. He lay sleeping, stretched 
out on the grass, his staff leaning against a rock near 
him. Thi other sat upright. We recognise Him. 
He IS Jesus, the carp .iter of Nazareth. He has 
come hither from the wilderness, through Judsa and 
C^ahlee, where sympathising companions joined Him 
a boatman, called James, and His former apprentice' 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



John. With one hand He supported His brow, the 
other rested protectingly on the sleeping John's head. 
The long-bearded man came hurrying up, crying : 
"iViaster, I have received some grapes for you." 

He who was thus addressed pointed to the sleeping 
youth, lest He should be waked with loud talking. 
Then He said softly : " James ! Shall I forgive the lie 
for the sake of the good you wish to do me ? Who 
knows anything of me? The grapes were given 
to you." 

"And I will eat them," returned James; "only 
permit me to eat them hi the way in which they 
taste best to me." 
" Do so." 

" They taste best to me if I see you eat them." 
Jesus took the gift, and said : " If we both satisfy 
ourselves, my dear James, what will there be for poor 
John? We are inured to fatigue; he is unaccus- 
tomed to it I think that, of the three of us, it is 
John who ought to eat the grapes." 

Since the long-bearded man offered no objection, 
John ate the grapes when he awoke. James 
announced that the fisherman was willing to take 
.hem, so they proceeded to the bank and got into 
the boat. 

Simon looked at the tired strangers with sympathy, 
and vigorously plied his oars. The waves rippled 
and the rocking skiff glided over the broad expanse 
of waters which, on the south side, appeared endless. 
From the way in which the two men spoke to the 
Master, Simon thought to himself: "A rabbi, and 
they are his pupils." To the Master's questions re- 
garding his life and trade, the fisherman gave respect- 
ful answers, taking care to remark that he had 
not to complain of overmuch good fortune, for often 



OP THE CROSS 



121 



he fished ail day and all night without catching 
anything, a success he could equally well obtain if he 
lay all day idle in his boat and let himself be rocked. 

The Master asked him with a smile what he would 
say to fishing for men. 

" I don't know what you mean." 

'•You've already three in your net," said James 
gaily. 

•' And God help me I " exclaimed the fisherman, "for 
we must pray to Him for help to-day. Look over 
there at the mountains of Hium. Just now it looks so 
beautifully blue that you would take it for a sunny 
sky. But the white edges I In an hour there'll be 
more of them." 

" Hoist the sail, fisherman, and bale out," advised 
James. " I understand something of the busire'^^" 

" Then you wouldn t say hoist the sail to-day," 
returned Simon. 

" Listen," said James ; "you know the river which 
brings the black sand and the little red fishes with the 
sharp heads down to this lake from the mountains of 
Golan. My cottage was by that river—you surely 
know it ? " ' 

" Isn't it there still ? " asked Simon. 

•' It is there, but it is no longer mine," said James. 
'• I have left it in order to follow the Master. Do you 
know Him, Simon?" 

He had whispered the last words behind the back 
of the Master, who sat silent on the bench, and 
looked out over the calm waters. He seemed to be 
enjoying the rest ; the breeze played softly with His 
hair. As a protection from the sun's rays John had 
fashioned a piece of cloth into a sort of turban and 
wound it round His head. He looked with amuse- 
ment at the reflection of the head-dress in the water 



II 



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122 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



"For whom do you take Him?" asked James, 
pointing to Jesus. 

And the fisherman answered, " For whom do you 

take that ? " He pointed to the distance ; he saw 

the storm. The mountains were enveloped in a grey 

mist which, pierced by the h'ghtning, moved slowly 

downwards. Before them surged the foaming waters, 

the waves white-crested. A gust of wind struck the 

boat; the water began to beat heavily against it, 

so that it was tossed about like a piece of cork. 

Since Simon had not put up the sail there was now 

no need to reef it. Flakes ot foam flew over the 

spars, the beams groaned. The clouds rushed on, 

driving the heaving, thundering waves before them. 

Soon the little boat was overtaken by darkness, 

which was only relieved by flashes of lightning. 

Long ago Simon had let go the rudder, and exclaimed, 

"Jehovah!" Thunder claps were the only answer. 

Then the fisherman fell on his face and groaned: 

" H« gives no help ; I thought as much." 

James and John sat close to the Master and tried 
to rouse Him from the dream into which He had 
sunk. 

" What do you want of Me ? " 

" Master ! " exclaimed James, " you are so entirely 
with your heavenly Father that you do not see how 
terrible is our doom." 

"I thought as much," repeated Simon, almost 
weeping. 

Jesus looked at him earnestly, and said : " If you 
keep on saying : I thought as much, well, then, so it 
must be. Think rather that God's angels are with 
you ! And you, James ! Have you forgotten the 
trust you had in God on dry land ? Yesterday in 
the quiet eventide, when, well fed and cared for 



ill 



OF THE CROSS 



123 



we sat in the inn at Ch.ratin, you -poke much of 
trust in God. Trust Him r>l.o in disiress." 

" O Master, I see help nowhere. 

" Learn to believe without seeing." 

As He spoke a flash of lightning blinded their 
eyes, and when after a time they were able to 
look up again, a wild terror seized them. The 
Master was not there. Now that they no longer 
saw Him, they shouted loudly ; shrieked out His 
name. Only John remained calm, and looked out 
into the darkness, wrapt in some bewilderment or 
trance. 

The foam flew into their faces and reduced them 
to utter confusion ; they could only involuntarily 
hold tight to the beams of the swaying vessel. 
" Living or dying we will not leave Him," said James. 
But the Master had left them. It seemed as though 
He had never existed. They seized the rudder 
again, and, with the courage of men in the presence 
of death, wrestled with the storm which seemed 
disinclined to let its victims go. "God is with 
us!" exclaimed Simon quickly, and worked with 
all that remained of his strength. "God is with 
us!" exclaimed James, and planted the rudder 
firmly in the water. Only John did not stir. 
Bending over the side, he stared out into the wild, 
grey, whirling waters. He espied in the mist a circle 
of light in which appeared a figure that came nearer, 
and behold ! Jesus was walking on the sea slowly 
towards the ship. The waves grew smooth under 
His feet, the sea grew light all over, the rock-towers 
of Hippos could be seen in the distance, with the 
evening sun sinking behind them. Jesus sat among 
His friends, and with kindly words chid them for 
their despondency. 



% 



1 » 



124 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

" Oh, wonderful ! " exclaimed James. " While you 
were with us, we were of little faith, and when we 
could not see you, we believed." 

"Twas your faith that helped," said Jesus. Then, 
laying His hand on the youth's shoulder: " And what 
is My wrapt John dreaming of? I was not yonder in 
the mist ; I was here with you. I tell you, friends : He 
is blind who sees without believing, and clear-sighted 
who believes without seeing." 



CHAPTER XIV 



An earthly light penetrates the holy darkness, and 
animated scenes at Magdala, on the lake, are visible 
to nie. Fishermen and boatmen, shepherds, arti- 
sans from the town, people from the neighbouring 
villages and from the mountains, are gathered 
together on the qua> v -re the boats land their 
passengers. For the ru . has gone forth that the 
new prophet is coming. And in the chattering crowd 
it is said that he is a magician from the East who 
possesses miraculous powers, and can make the sick 
whole. An amusing thing had happened at Caper- 
naum. The prophet had been there, and a man ill 
with rheumatism, a beggar who lived on his lame leg, 
had been dragged in his bed to him. Now the pro- 
phet could not endure beggars who nursed their 
infirmities in order to display them, who pretended 
poverty, troubled themselves about nothing, and yet 
wished to live in comfort. The prophet liked to 
deprive them of their begging tool, namely, the 
infirmity, so that they were compelled to work. He 
healed the man's rheumatic leg, and said : " Take up 
thy bed and walk." And the sick man was much 
astounded over the turn things had taken ; the bed 
had carried him there, but he must carry the bed 
back. 



\4t 



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£ * : 










It* 



126 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



Others said the prophet was an Egyptian, and 
could foretell the future. Whereupon some one 
observed that if he could not foretell the future he 
would not be a prophet. 

" By Father Abraham ! " exclaimed an old ferry- 
man, " if prophets had always foretold truly the 
universe would have fallen into the sea and been 
drowned long ago. I can prophesy too ; if he comes, 
well, he'll be here." 

" Then he'll soon be here," said a fisherboy, laugh- 



ing, " for there he comes." 



the waves, was 



^ ■ ! 1 



A boat, tossed up and down on 
approaching, and in it sat four men. 

" Which is he ? " 

" The one with the black beard." 

" Oh, that's rubbish ! The man with the beard is 
James, the boatman from the Jordan Valley." 

"Then it must be the bald man." 

" But, Assam, you surely know Simon the fisher- 
man of Betlisaida, who comes every month to the 
market here and spoils other men's business with his 
absurdly low prices." 

When they had landed. His companions could 
scarcely steer a way for Him through the crowd. 
The people looked at Him ; some were disappointed. 
That prophet was not sufficiently different from them- 
selves. Was it really He? The carpenter of Nazareth ! 
Well, then, we've had a nice run for nothing. We 
know what He has to say, and what He can do He 
does not do." 

" He will do it, though. He did it in Cana. Bring 
up the water pitchers — we'll be merry to-day." 

The crowd pressed forward more and more eagerly, 
for many had come a long distance, and desired to 
see Him close and hear Him speak. 



; M' 



OF THE CROSS 127 

The evening presented a good opportunity It 
was already dark ; a torch fixed to the pillar on the 
shore diffused a dull red light over the surging crowd 
Jesus wished to pass on quickly, but He could not A 
woman fleeing from her pursuers cast herself at His 
feet. She was young, her hair streamed loose, her 
limbs were trembling with fear ; she knelt down and 
put her arms round His legs. He bent down to her 
and tried to raise her, but she held fast to His feet 
and could not compose herself Then the people 
began to shout : " The traitress, the Bethany serpent, 
what has she to do with Him ? " 

Jesus put His hand on her head. He stood up 
straight and asked aloud : " Who is this woman that 
you have a right to insult her ? " 

"Who is she? Ask the son of Job. She's an 
adulteress. Married but a few weeks ago to the 
brave old son of Job, her parents' friend, she deceives 
him with a young coxcomb, the hussy ! " 

The abuse they hurled against the helpless 
creature cannot be repeated. It was the women 
too, who shouted the loudest ; especially one, the 
wife of a man who made fishing-nets, was so filled 
with moral indignation that she tore her dress and 
scattered the rags over the sinner. Words of the 
most venomous abuse poured from this accuser's 
mouth in bitter complaint that such a creature 
should shame the sacred name of woman: she 
passionately declared her desire that the evil-doer 
should be stoned. Soon the crowd followed with 
Stone her ! and a young porter who stood near the 
wife of the fishing-net ma!:cr stooped to pick up a 
stone from the road, and prepared to cast it at the 
sinner. Jesus protected her with His hand, and 
exclaimed: "Do not touch her. Which of you 



11 






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128 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



is without sin? Let him ccme and cast the first 
stone." 

Unwilh'ngly they let their arms fall, and those who 
already held stones in their hands dropped them 
quietly on to the ground. But Jesus turned to the 
persecuted woman and said : " They shall not harm 
you. Tell me what has happened." 

"Lord!" she whimpered, and clasped His feet 
afresh, "I have sinned! I have sinned!" and she 
sobbed and wept so that His feet were damp with 
her tears. 

" You have sinned ! " He said in a voice, the gentle 
sound of which went to many a heart — "sinned. 
And now you are sorry. And you do not try to 
vindicate yourself. Get up, get up ! Your sins will 
be forgiven." 

" How ? What ? " grumbled the people. « What's 
this we hear ? He speaks kindly to the adulteress. 
He pardons her sin. This prophet will indeed find 
followers." 

When Jesus heard their grumbling He said aloud : 
" I tell you I am like a shepherd. He goes out to 
search for a lost lamb. He does not fling it to the 
wolves, but takes it home to the fold that it may be 
saved. I do not rejoice over the proud, but over 
the repentant. The former sink down ; the latter rise 
up. Listen to what I tell you. A certain man had 
two sons. One was of good disposition and took 
care of his property. The other was disobedient, and 
one day said to his father : ' Give me my share of the 
substance; I wish to go to a far country.' The 
father was sorry, but as the young man insisted he 
gave him his share, and he went away. So while one 
brother worked and gained and saved at home, the 
other lived in pleasure and luxury, and squandered 



4 H 



OF THE CROSS 139 

He got ill and w etched ^< ■ ""'"' ""^ '°'"- 

one. Then he remfmt;e;hisTthf ''r' "' ''"'^ 
servant lived in plentv ri.M 1 , '"'''°'^ "'^^"^'^ 
tute, he returned home kneft 1^"^'''/"" """'■ 
-d : . Father, I have "n^ed d Lp ! ," 1 1 T' """ 
worthy to be your son ■ let m^h "° '°""'" 

vanf Then his fa her' lifted hil ^°"' ""-T' ■^"- 
his heart had hi™ t k j • " "P' ?''<='■''<='' h™ to 

a calf ^b I'gM ^'a^S the"'^ ^^r^"'=' -''-'^'' 
in readiness for » k wrneskins to be filled 

to It tf :h^rn,!?ht^"rt^:'' j;''i^"^ 

except his other son. He sent Tl """* 

he had faithfully ser;ed his father Jfh^' rr ''^ "''' 
calf or buck had been slaughtered "hi ' ''" "° 
He found more honour in eating bread anj fir?"'" 
■n his room than in sitting at th. T, ^^ *'°"* 

idle fellows and speTd hrift ThenT''/'u'' '"'"' 
to him and said : ■ W onf „,r„ , ""^ ^^'^er sent 

brother was lost and ^^ou^nd"' L^kT iuhat """" 

reioiceThmor o^ r:L*er1h!t^ "^^^."'^ ^^"-^ 
a righteous man " ^' '■<=P«"te'h than over 

wJppTd Ms^crk^^otrhlm-U-m t h"°"^' 
and ttered the saying of a^TeJl'sch it :%"I' 
the nghteous man shall stand before God r- ^ 

pubi:::n":h 1:::^' 't: "t ^°" "°' "-^ °' «•« 

did not ventLXproachThfa'art'"^'"''!^" '"' 

arrj-x • £tr Ff --"^^ - 

-kedlik^e^LVma^nt^'hp'in^^'rth^ 



130 



A PRISONERS STORY 



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went forth from the Temple, the pubh'can's heart was 
full of grace, and the Pharisee's heart was empty. 
Do you understand?" 

Thereupon several of them drew back. Jesus bent 
over the penitent and said : " Woman, rise and 
depart in peace ! " 

The people were outwardly rather calmer. In- 
wardly they were still restless, but they began now 
to be a little more satisfied with Him. 

Meanwhile James had to settle with the fisherman 
about payment for the voyage. Simon covered his 
face with his mantle, and said with gentle rebuke : 
" Do not mock me. I have been punished enough. 
I am ashamed of my cowardice. I see now that I'm 
neither a fisherman nor a sailor, but a mere useless 
creature. This man whom you call Master, do you 
know what has come over me, thanks to Him ? He 
who saw Him in the storm, and heard His words 
about sinners, leaves Him not again. No, I have 
never seen any like Him. If only Manasseh, the 
fisherman, and his daughter, and my brother Andrew 
had been there ! " 

" They will come directly," said James. 

" How comes it, James," asked the fisherman, 
"that you are with this man and dare to follow 
Him?" 

" That is quite simple, my friend. I merely follow 
Him. Whoever pleases can have my little property. 
I follow Him." 

" But whither, James, whither are you journeying ? " 

And James answered : " To the Kingdom of God : 
to eternal life." 

Then the fisherman, with trembling hand, felt for 
James's arm, and said : " I will go too." 

An hour had scarcely passed before a fresh tumult 



OF THE CHOaS isi 

arose. It came from the house of the maker of 
I' -img-nets. He and a neighbour were hauW ,h 
former's wife along, the sam'e woman who hid bie! 
so md,gnant against the adulteress shortTy before It 
was suggested that she should be brought T ,1 
prophet, but her husban<l s,id : '■ He is a bfd „ 1 ' 
such matters," and wished to f,L,. hi a '"''^^ '" 

But the people crowtd o^d t' uf IV tow" h'" 
what had happened. The woln^rhld te„ cauZ 

who had hold of her, in the hand O^e " came'uo 
and confirmed the accusation. Thewoman blasphemed 
and^reduced her husband to Silence byproctr; 

voic?"« S u"i ^T'- "' ^'"='''™«' '" a loud 
Ti?! ■ ,• , , ^ ^^ hypocrite and the faithless and 
the volent 1 Justice, judgment for such as h„ r 

Then the woman shrieked :" You speak of justice 
you who yourself recognise no justice. Is it ust th?; 
you should bless one of t o Wr! 'v ^ ^""*' 
other?" "' ^""^ '^"'■5« the 

^And Jesus: "I tell you: he who repents is accented • 

he who will not repent is cast out." ^ ' 

Then He turned round, and wrant ir, n, ■.. 

sif tr^p[::rM^- tat rt^."'-= -^^^ 

Mi,lim:f the'Sherrn"" If" "'" ="' -"" 
pc^ed costal and ITa' r^l^ZJ^I:: i! 

because . am severe. To-VoZ "t 'n of^heTorrC 
may shout, the day after a hundred; yl^Ve Zg 



I 



132 A PRISONERS STORY OF THE CROSS 

he who is applauded to-day may be surrounded by 
cruel enemies, and with him those who support him. 
My word ruins the worldly and My mercy annoys the 
powerful. They will destroy with fire and sword the 
seeds which I sow. Simon, you did not strike Me 
as one of the strongest on the sea. I demand not a 
little. If you will come to Me, you must abandon 
everything that is now yours. You cannot have Me 
and the world. If you can make sacrifices, if jou can 
forget, if you can suffer, then come with Me. Yes, 
and if you can die for Me, then come." 

" Master, I will go with you." 

" If you can do that, then the burden will be easy ; 
then you will have the peace wh^'h none finds in the 
world." 

"Master," exclaimed Simon, loudly, "I will go 
with you." 

Others who had followed Him along the bank heard 
the decision. They marvelled at the words that had 
passed, and the erring woman whom He had pro- 
tected would not leave Him. 

In the distance the clamour could still be heard, 
but gradually the crowd dispersed. Jesus then 
sought lodging for Himself rnd His disciples. 






: 1 



CHAPTER XV 

A siiOkT time after, some of those who had formed 
the crowd at Magdala were gathered together in the 
house of the Rabbi Jairus. They were watching the 
dead For in the centre of the room, on a table. lay 
the body of the Rabbi's daughter shrouded in white 
linen. Her father was so cast down with grief that 
his friends knew not how to console him. Then some 
one sur'^-.ted calling in Jesus of Nazareth, whom 
they ha. , .St seen resting with His followers under 
the cedars of Hirah. They narrated the miracles that 
He had lately worked. On the road leading to 
Capernaum a man was lying side by side with his 
httle son, into whom had entered the spirit of 
epilepsy. The child had fallen down and foamed 
at the mouth, and his teeth and hands were so 
locked together that his father, in his despair all 

u-L'^'^"?^^'^ ^''^- "^ *^^^ ^^••eady taken the 
child to the disciples of Jesus, but they had not 
been able to help him. Then he sought the Master 
and exclaimed angrily : " If you can do anything, 
help him ! «' Take heed that we do not all suffei^ 
because of him." the prophet Said, and then made the 
child whole. And they told yet more. On the other 
side of the lake He had made a deaf-mute to speak 
and at Bethsaida had made a blind man to see. But' 

133 ' 



^'fl 



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in 



134 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



above all, every one knew how at Nain He had 
brought back a young man to life who had already 
been carried out of the house in his coffin ! A winc- 
presser was there who told something about an old 
woman who had vehemently prayed the prophet to 
cure her sickness. Thereupon Jesus said : " You are 
old and yet you wish to live I What makes this earth 
so pleasing to you ? " and she replied : " Nothing is 
pleasing to me on this earth. But I do not want to 
die until the Saviour comes, who will open the gates 
of Heaven for me." And He : " Since your faith is 
so strong, woman, you shall live to see the Saviour." 
Thereui)on she rose up and went her way. These 
were the things He did, but He did not like them to be 
talked about. 

Such was the talk among the people gathered 
round the little girl's corpse. Among the company 
was an old man who was of those who liked to 
display their wisdom on every possible occasion. 
He declared that faith and love, nothing else, 
produced such miracles. No miracle-worker could 
help an unbeliever ; but a man whom the people 
loved could easily work miracles. " They forget all 
his failures, and remember and magnify all his suc- 
cesses. That's all there is in it." 

A man answered him : •' It is important that he 
should be loved, but the love is compelled by some 
mysterious power. No one can make himself beloved 
of his own accord, it must be given him." 

They determined, thanks to all this talk— a 
mingling of truth and error — to invite the prophet 
to the house. 

When Jesus entered it, He saw the mourning 
assembly, and the Rabbi, who pulled at his gown 
until he tore it. He saw the child lying on the table 



OF THE CROSS 



135 



ready for burial, and asked ; " Why have you sum- 
moned Mc ? Where is the dead girl ? " 

The Rabbi undid *he shroud so that the girl lay 
exposed to view. Jesus looked at her, took hold of 
her hand, felt it, and laid it gently down again. " The 
child is not dead," Me said, " she only slecpeth." 

Some began to laugh. They knew the difierence 
between death and life ! 

He stepped up to them, and said : " Why did you 
summon Me if you do not believe in Mc ? If you 
have assembled here to watch the dead, there's 
nothing for you to do." 

They crept away in annoyance. He turned to the 
father and mother : " Be comforted. Prepare some 
food for your daughter." Then He took hold of the 
child's cold hand, and whispered : " Little girl ! Little 
girl ! wake up, it is morning." 

The mother uttered a cry of joy, for the child 
opened her eyes. He stood by, and they seemed to 
hear Him say : " Arise, my child. You are too young 
to have gained heaven yet. The Father must be long 
sought so that He may be the more beloved. Go your 
way and seek Him." 

When the girl, who was twelve years old, stood on 
her feet, and walked across the floor, the parents 
almost fell on Jesus in order to express their thanks. 
He put them aside. " I understand your gratitude. 
You will do what I do not wish. You will go to the 
street corners and exclaim : ' He raised our child from 
the dead ' ; and the people will come and ask Me to 
heal their bodies, while I am come to heal their souls. 
And they will desire Me to raise the dead, while I am 
here to lead their spirits to eternal life." 

" Lord, how are we to understand you ? " 

" When in good time you shall have learned how 



136 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

little the mortal body and earthly life signify, then 
you will understand. If, as you say, I have raised 
your child from the dead, what thanks do you owe 
Me? Do you recognise what he who calls back a 
creature from happiness to misery does? 

"You said yourself, Master, that the child was too 
young to gain heaven yet." 

"She has not gained it; she possessed it in her 
innocent heart. She will become a maiden, and a 
wife, and an old woman. She will lose heaven and 
seek it in agony. It will be well for her if then she 
comes to the Saviour and begs : ' My soul is dead 
within me, Lord ; wake it to eternal life.' But if she 
comes not— then it would be better that she had not 
waked to-day." 

The mother said in all humility : " Whatsoever Thou 
doest, Master, that is surely right." 

He went to the table where the child was com- 
fortably eating her food, laid His hand on her head, 
and said: "You have come to earth from heaven, 
now give up earth for heaven; what is earned is 
greater than what is given." 

So the wife of Rabbi Jairus heard as Jesus went 
out of the door. 

They remained His adherents until near the days 
of the persecution. 



« I 



CHAPTER XVI 

About the same time things began to go ill with 
Levi, the tax-gatherer, who lived on the road to 
Tiberias. One morning his fellow-residents pre- 
pared a discordant serenade for him. They pointed 
out to Levi with animation, from the roof of his 
house, in what honour he was held, by means of the 
rattling of trays and clashing of pans, since he 
had accepted service with the heathen as toll- 
keeper and demanded money even on the Sabbath. 
The lean tax-gatherer sat in a corner of his room 
and saw the dust fly from the ceiling, which seemed 
to shake beneath the clatter. He saw, too, how the 
morning sun shining in at the window threw a band 
of light across the room, in which danced particles 
of dust like little stars. He listened, and saw, and 
was silent. When they had had enough of dancing 
on the roof they jumped to the ground, made 
grimaces at the window, and departed. 

A little, bustling woman came out of the next 
room, stole up to the man, and said : " Levi, it serves 
you right!" 

" Yes, I know, Judith," he answered, and stood up. 
He was so tall that he had to bend his head in order 
not to strike it against the ceiling. His beard hung 
down in thin strands ; it was not yet gray, despite 
his pale, tired face. 

137 



138 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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N 



"They will stone you, Levi, if you continue to 
serve the Romans," exclaimed the woman. 

"They hated me even when I did not serve the 
Romans," said the man. " Since that Feast of Taber- 
nacles at Tiberias when I said that Mammon and 
desire of luxury had estranged the God of Abraham 
from the chosen people, and subjected them to 
Jupiter, they have hated me." 

" But you yourself follow Mammon," she returned. 
"Because since they hate me I must create a 
power for myself which will support me, if all 
are against me. It is the power with which the 
contemned man conquers his bitterest enemies. 
You don't understand me? Look there!" He 
bent down in a dark corner of the chamber, lifted 
an old cloth, and displayed to view a stone vessel 
like a mortar. " Real Romans," he said, grinning ; 
" soon a small army of them. And directly it is big 
enough, the neighbours won't climb on to the roof 
and sing praises to Levi with pots and pans, but with 
harps and cymbals." 

" Levi, shall I tell you what you are," exclaimed 
the woman, the muscles of her red face working. 

"I am a publican, as I well know," he returned 
calmly, carefully covering his money chest with the 
cloth. " A despised publican who takes money from 
his own people to give to the stranger, who demands 
toll-money of the Jews although they themselves 
made the roads. Such an one am I, my Judith ! 
And why did I become a Roman publican? 
Because I wished to gain money so as to support 
myself among those who hate me." 

"Levi, you are a miser," she said. "You bury 
your money in a hole instead of buying me a Greek 
mantle like what Rebecca and Amala wear." 



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OF THE CROSS 



139 



i 



"Then I shall remain a miser," he replied, "for 
I shall not buy you a Greek mantle. Foreign 
garments will plunge the Jews into deeper ruin 
than my Roman oflfice and Roman coins. It is not 
the receipt of custom, my dear wife, that is idolatry, 
but desire of dress, pleasure, and luxury. Street turn- 
pikes are not bad at a time when our people begin 
to be fugitives in their own land, and with all their 
trade and barter to export the good and import 
the evil. Since the law of Moses respecting agri- 
culture there has been no better tax than the 
Roman turnpike toll. What have the Jews to do 
on the road?" 

"You will soon see," said Judith. "If I don't 
have the Greek mantle in two days from now, you'll 
see me on the road, but from behind." 

" You don't look bad from behind," mischievously 
returned Levi. 

The knocker sounded without. The tax-gatherer 
looked through the window, and bade his wife undo 
the barrier. She went out and raised a piercing cry, 
but did not unclose the barrier. Several men had 
come along the road, and were standing there ; the 
woman demanded the toll. A little man with a bald 
head stepped forward. It was the fisherman from 
Bethsaida. He confessed that they had no money. 
Thereupon the woman was very angry, for it was 
her secret intention thenceforth to keep the toll 
money herself in order to buy the Greek purple 
stuff like that worn by Rebecca and Amala. 

When Levi heard her cry, he went out and said : 

"Let them pass, Judith. You see they are not 

traders. They won't do the road much damage. 

Why they've scarcely soles to their feet." 

Then Judith was quiet, but she took a stolen 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



glance at one of the men who stood tall and straight 
•n his blue mantle, his hair falling over his shoulders, 

« wf.'' ^'^ '"'"^"^ *°^^'^' ^^' ^'th a" e^' -nest look. 
What a man ? Is something the matter with me ? 
perhaps he misses the Greek mantle that he sees 
other women wear ? " 

" How far have you come?" the toll-keeper asked 
ine men. 

^iLZ^'lt ""aT ^'"'"^ ^^^^^^^ t°-d^y." replied 
i5«mon, the fisherman. 

fhl ^u^a '* i.^'""^ *^*' y°" '^^^^^ here a little in 
the shade. The sun has been hot all day " 

When Judith saw that they were really preparing 
to aval, themselvc, of the invitation, she hastened 
to her room, adorned herself with gay-coloured stuffs, 
a sparkling bracelet, and a pearl necklace that she 
had lately acquired from a Sidonian merchant. She 
came out again with a tray of figs and dates. The 
tall, pale man-it was Jesus-silently passed on 
the tray, and took no refreshment Himself His 
penetrating glance made her uneasy. Perhaps He 
would let Himself be persuaded. She placed h"r! 
se f before Him. more striking and bold in her 
splendour. 

thistle. It has prickles on the stem and the flower. 
It IS covered with the dust of the highway and eaten 
away by insects. But it is more beautiful than an 
arrogant child of man." 

Judith started violently. She rushed into the 
house, and slammed the door behind her so that 
the walls echoed. The tax-gatherer gave the speaker 
an approving glance, and sighed. 
Then Jesus asked him : «• Are you fond of her ? " 
bhe is his neighbour!" observed a cheerful- 



OF THE CROSS 



141 



looking little man who formed one of the band 
of travellers. The jesting word referred to the 
Master's speech of the day before on love of one's 
neighbour. 

Levi nodded thoughtfully and said : " Yes, gentle- 
men, she is my nearest — enemy." 

•' Isn't she your wife ? " asked Simon. 

Without answering him, the tax-gatherer said : " I 
am a publican, and blessed with mistrust as far as 
my eye can reach. Yet all those without do not 
cause me as m^ch annoyance as she who is nearest 
me in my house." 

One of the men laid his hand on his shoulder : 
" Then, friend, see that she is no longer your nearest. 
Come with us. We have left our wives and all the 
rest of our belongings to go with Him. Don't you 
know Him ? He is the man from Nazareth." 

The publican started. The man of whom the 
whole land spoke, the prophet, the miracle-worker? 
This young, kindly man was He ? He who preached 
so severely against the Jews ? Didn't I say almost 
the same, that time at the Feast of Tabernacles? 
And yet the people were angry. They listen 
reverently to this man and follow Him. Shall I do 
so too? What hinders me? I, the much-hated 
man, may be dismissed the service at any moment. 
I may be driven from my house to-day, as soon as 
to-morrow ? And my wife, she'll probably be seen 
on the road from behind ? There's only one thing 
I can't part with, but I can take that with me." 

Then he turned to the Nazarene, held the tray 
with the remains of the fruit towards Him : " Take 
some, dear Master ! " 

The Master said gently, in a low voice : " Do you 
love Me, publican ? " 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



The tax-gatherer began to tremble so that the 
tray nearly fell from his hands. Those words ! and 
that look I He could not reply. 

" If you love Me, go with Me, and share our 
hardships." 

" Our joys, Lord, our joys," exclaimed Simon. 

At that moment a train of pack-mules came along 
the road. The drivers whipped the creatures with 
knotted cords, and cursed that there was another 
turnpike. The tax-gatherer took the prescribed 
coins from them, and pointed out their ill-treatment 
of the animals. For answer he received a blow in 
his face from the whip, Levi angrily raised his arm 
against the driver. Then Jesus stepped forward, 
gently pulled his arm down, and asked : " Was his 
act wrong?" 

" Yes ! " 

" Then do not imitate it." 

And the little witty man again interposed : " If you 
go with us, ,. jblican, you'll have two cheeks, a right 
and a left. But no arm, do you understand ? " 

The remark had reference to a favourite saying 
of the Master when He was defenceless and of good- 
cheer in the presence of a bitter enemy. Several 
received the allusion with an angry expression of 
countenance. 

" But it is true," laughed the little man. « The 
Master said : ' Let Thaddeus say what he likes. He 
suffered yesterday in patience the wrath of an Arab.' " 

" Yes, indeed ; because they found no money, they 
beat Thaddeus." 

"If we meet another of that sort, we'll defend 
ourselves," said the publican, « or robbery 'II become 
cheap." 

" It's easy to see, tax-gatherer, that you haven't 






OF THE CROSS 



143 



known the Master long," said the little man whom 
they called Thaddeus. " We and money, indeed ! " 

Then the Master said : " A free soul has nothing 
to do with Mammon. It's not worth speaking of, let 
alone quarrelling over. Violence won't undo robbery. 
If you attempt violence, you may easily turn a thief 
into a murderer." 

While they were talking the publican went into 
his house. He had made his decision. He would 
quietly bid his wife farewell, put the money in a 
bag and tie it round his waist. He did not do the 
first, because Judith had fled by the back door ; he did 
not do the second, because Judith had emptied the 
stone vessel and taken the money with her. 

Levi came sadly from the toll-house, went up to 
Jesus, and lifted his hands to heaven : " I am ready. 
Lord ; take me with you." 

The Master said : " Levi Matthew, you are mine." 

Thaddeus came with the tray of fruit. " Brother, 
eat of your table for the last time. Then trust in 
Him who feeds the birds and makes the flowers to 
grow." 

As they went together along the dusty road, the 
new disciple related his loss. 

Simon exclaimed cheerfully : " You're lucky, Levi 
Matthew ! What other men give up with difficulty 
has run away from you of itself" 

That day the toll-house was left deserted, and the 
passers-by were surprised to find that the road 
between Magdala and Tiberias was free. 



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chaptp:r XVII 

In this way there gathered round the carpenter of 
Nazareth more disciples and friends, who wished to 
accompany Him in His wanderings through the land. 
For Jesus had decided. He desired only to wander 
through the land and bring men tidings of the 
Heavenly Father and of the Kingdom of God. He 
appointed some of His disciples to prepare for Him a 
reception and lodging everywhere. Then there were 
the assemblies of the people to regulate ; and the 
disciples, so far as they themselves understood 
the new teaching, must act as interpreters and 
expositors for those who could not understand the 
Master's peculiar language. Among those was John, 
the carpenter, who had once been an apprentice to 
Jesus, a near relative of the Master. Other of 
His disciples were called James, he was the boat- 
builder; then Simon, Andrew, and Thomas, the 
fishermen ; Levi Matthew, the publican ; Thaddeus, 
the saddler ; and further — but my memory is 
weak — James, the little shepherd ; Nathan, the 
potter; and his brother Philip, the innkeeper from 
Jericho; Bartholomew, the smith; and Judas, the 
money-changer from Carioth. Like Simon and 
Matthew, they had all left their trades or offices to 
follow with boundless devotion Him they called Lord 
and Master. 

144 



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A PRISONrR'S STORY OF THE CROSS 146 

How shall I dare to describe the Master! His 
personality defies description. It left none cold who 
came m contact with it. It was attractive not only 
by humility and gentleness, but more by active 
power and by such sacred and fiery anger as had 
never before been seen in any one"^ Pe^Ie were 
never t.red of looking at the man with ^the U f 
handsome figure. His head was crowned with lightly' 

down tr^ "it' """^""'-'^^^-S hair, which hung 
down soft and heavy at the side and back, and floated 
over His shoulders. His brow was broad and white 
for no sunbeam could penetrate the shade formed by' 

^ZT r ^1 ^ '''°"^' '''^'^^' "^^«' '"ore like 
ul I .^u'"^ '^^" of a Jev^and His red lips wera 
shaded with a thick beard. And His eyes wer^ 

r." . ' J"'^'; "^^'^ 'y^'' ^'^^ ^ marvellous fire in 
hem. Ordinarily ,t was a fire that burnt warm and 
soft, but at times ,t shone with a great glow of 
happiness, or sparkled with *«ier. like a midsumm 
storm by night in the mountains of Lebanon. On 
that account many called Him " fiery eye." He' wore " 
a long straight gown, without hat or staff. He 
generally wore sandals on His feet, but sometimes Hp 
forgot to put them on. for in His spiritual com-' 
munings He did not perceive the roughness of the 
road. So He wandered through the stony desert as 
^rough the flowery meadows of the ferti vaL' 
When His companions complained of the storm or 
heat, and tore their limbs on the sharp stones and 
U^orns. He remained calm and uncomplaining. He 
did not. like the holy men of the East, seek for 
hardships but He did not fear them. H^ was an 
enemy of all external trappings, because they dis 
tracted the attention from the inner life, and by their 
attractions might induce a false appearance of 

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A PRISONER'S STORY 



reality. He gladly received invitations to the 
houses of the joyful, and rejoiced with them; 
at table He ate and drank with moderation. He 
added to the pleasures of the table by narrating 
parables and legends, by means of which He brought 
deep truths home to the people. Since He left the 
little house at Nazareth, He possessed no worldly 
goods. What He needed in His wanderings for Him- 
self and His followers. He asked of those who had 
possessions. His manner was often rough and sp.ced 
with bitter irony, even where He proved Himself 
helpful and sympathetic. Towards His disciples, 
whom He loved deeply— especially young John— He 
always showed Himself absorbed in His mission 
to make strong, courageous, God-fearing men out of 
weak creatures. He was so definite about what He 
liked and what He disliked, that even the blindest 
could see it He suffered no compromise between 
good and evil. He specially disliked ambiguous 
speakers, hypocrites, and sneaks ; He preferred to 
have to do with avowed sinners. 

One of His fundamental traits was to be yielding 
in disposition, but unflinching in His teaching. 
He avoided all personal dislikes, hatreds, all that 
might poison the heart. His soul was trust and 
kindness. So high did He rank kindness, and so 
heavily did He condemn selfishness, that one of 
His disciples said, to sin fr-m kindness brought a 
man nearer to God than to uo good through selfish- 
ness The hostility and reverses He met with He 
turned into a source of happiness. Happiness ! Did 
not that word come into the world with Jesus ? 

« He is always talking of being happy," some one 
once said to John. "What do you understand by 
being happy?" 



OF THE CROS8 147 

lohn replied: nVhen you feel quite contented 
inwardly, so that no worldly desire or bitterness 
disturbs your peace, when all within you is love and 
trust, as though yon were at rest in the eternity of God 
and nothing can trouble you any more, that is. as I take 
It. what He means by being happy, liut it cannot be 
put n.to words, only he who feels it understands " 

And Jesus possessed, too. the high sense of 
communion with God. which He transmitted to all 
who fol owed Him. But I should like to add that 
where Jesus was most divine, there He was most 
human. In thrusting from Him all worldly desire all 

ZT^TV^' ' u^ r'^'^^y ^"^^' ^^ ^'^^^ Himself 
from the burden which renders most men unhappy 

In communion with God He was at once a simple' 
child, and a wise man of the world. No anxiety 
existed about accidents, perils, loss and ruin. Every- 
thmg happened according to His will, because it was 
the will of God. and He enjoyed - .,ith simplicity 
and a pure heart. Is not that the true human lot ? 
And does not such a natural, glad life come very 
near to the Divine? ^ 

thJ v'; '^'"' "' ["""^^"^ '^^ ^''^'"^ P^th across 
that historic ground which will be known as the Holy 
Land to the end of time. ^ 

And now that great day. that great Sabbath 
morning came. 

For a long time damp, grey mists had hung over 
the valleys of Galilee; banks of fog had hovered 
over the mountains of Lebanon ; showers of cold rain 
fell. But after the gloom dawned a bright sprTng 
morning. From the rocky heights a fertile land 
was visibk. Green meadows watered by shining 
stream, adorned the valleys, and groups of p^nes 
fig-trees, olive-trees, and cedars, the slopes and the 



148 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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hilI>tops. Vines and dewy roses were in the hedges. 
A full-voiced choir of birds and fresh breezes from 
the Lake filled the soft air. Westwards the blue 
waters of the Mediterranean might be discerned, and 
in the east, through distant clefts in the rocks, the 
shimmer of the Dead Sea. Southwards lay the plain, 
and the yellowish mounds which marked the 
beginning of the desert. And towards the west the 
snow peaks of Lebanon were visible above the dark 
forest and the lighter green of the slopo;>. A perfect 
sunny peacefulness lay over everything. 

The flat rocks of the gentler slopes were crowded 
with people, many of whom had never seen this 
district And they still came from every village and 
farm. Instead of going as usual to the synagogue, 
they hastened to this mountain height. Instead of 
seeking soft repose, as their desire of comfort bade 
them, they hurried thither over stocks and stones. 
Instead of visiting friend or neighbour they all climbed 
the heif^hts together. For they knew that Jesus was 
there, and would speak. And so they stood or sat 
on the flat stones — men and women, old and young, 
rich and poor. Many only came out of curiosity, 
and passed the time in witty sallies ; others jested 
together ; others, again, waited in silent expectation. 
Those who already knew Him whispered excitedly, 
and Simon said to James: "My heart has never 
beat as violently as to-day." 

And Jesus stood on the summit of the mountain. 

As if all men were turned to stone at sight of Him, 
a silence and stillness now took the place of the 
subdued murmur of the crowd. He stood in His 
long, light-coloured gown, like a white pillar against 
the blue sky. His left hand hung motionless by His 
side, the right was pressed against His heart He 



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OP THE CROSS 140 

^clIV'^^'' r'"^- ''"' ''""'y' Not in the even 
tone of a preacher, but .juickly and eagerly, often 

a P inant",'"""'™',"'"'^ ™"""'"e »'' thoughts fo, 
a pregnant saymg. I, was not as if He had thought 

o^l;, ^ t "." °"'" individual temperament had 

lorth in the rush of the Holy Spirit 

all hu!" f"' •' n ""''^ ^'''''''' '" y"- ' "-"e to 

Pri oled t tH ''""'"f • '° "" ''"'> '° *e im. 
prisoned to the cast down. I come with dad 

tidmgs from the Heavenly Father" 

ouf fl'tn'I^K'' '■""•'^'"="'°" H«. '■" His humility, looked 

ToTnt ^Tk """'If °f ^'"''■*' =» " ^he would 
supply Him with words. But Nature was silent • 

jndeed, at that hour, all creatures were sUen. Tnd 
Then Jesus lifted His eyes to the crowd, and began 

"Brothers I Rejoice! Again I say, Reioicel 
A good Father lives in heaven. His presencTIs 
everywhere. His power is boundless, and we are H 

recast 'o?,!? h ? "Z °"=- "" "«' '"'° ">= dark 
recesses of all hearts, and no one can move a hair's 

breadth without His consent. He places freely before 
men happiness and eternal life. Listen t^ what I 
say to you in His name : 

11 ;u I ' *^ P°°''- f°^ "° earthly burden can 
keep them from the Kingdom of Heaven. Ibless 

by the "rlf tf f."'^' "isappointed-abandon^J 
oy the world they take refuge in life in God. I bless 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



the kind-hearted and the peace-loving. Their hearts 
are not troubled with hate and guilt ; they live as 
happy children of God. I bless those who love 
justice, for they are God's companions, and shall find 
justice. I bless the pure in heart. No bewildering 
desire obscures the face of God from them. I bless 
the merciful. Sympathetic love gives strength, 
brings compassion where it is needed. And blessed, 
thrice blessed, are you who suffer persecution for the 
sake of righteousness. Yours is the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Rejoice and be glad, all of you — no eye hath 
yet seen, no ear hath yet heard the joys that are laid 
up for you in heaven. Now hear My mission. Many 
say I wish to change the old laws. That is not so. 
I come to fulfil the old laws, but according to the 
spirit, not according to the letter. The learned men 
who preach in the synagogues fulfil it according to 
the letter, and desire to guide the people ; but if you 
do as they, you will not be righteous, nor will you find 
the Kingdom of God. The wise men say, you shall 
not kill. I say, you shall not get angry, or be con- 
temptuous. He who grows angry and censorious, 
shall himself be judged. Your pious gifts are of no 
avail if you live at enmity with your neighbour. In 
the law of the sages it is written, you shall not 
commit adultery. I say, you shall not even think of 
breaking your marriage vows. Rather should you 
become blind than let your eye desire your neigh- 
bour's wife. Better lose your sight than your purity. 
Rather cut off your hand than reach it after your 
neighbour's goods. Better lose your strength than 
your virtue. It is said in the Law, you shall not 
swear falsely. I say, you shall not swear at all, 
either by God, or by your soul, or by your child. 
Yes or no, that is enough. Now say whether I 



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OF THE CROSS 



151 



change the laws. Rather do I desire the strictest 
obedience to them. But there are laws which I do 
change. Listen : An eye for an eye, a tooth for a 
tooth. I say you shall not treat your adversary in a 
hostile fashion. What you can in justice do for your- 
self, that do, but go no farther ; it is a thousand times 
better to suffer wrong than to do wrong. Overcome 
your enemy with kindness. If any one smites you 
on the right cheek, keep your temper and offer him 
the left. Maybe that will disarm his wrath. If any 
one tears off your coat ask him kindly if he would 
not like the undergarment too ? Perhaps he will be 
ashamed of his greediness. If any asks you for 
something that you :in grant, do not refuse him. 
and if you have two coats give one to him who has 
none. In the law of the sages it is said : Love your 
neighbour; hate your enemy. That is false. For 
It IS easy enough to love them that love you, and 
hate them that hate you. The godless can manage 
so much. I tell you, love your neighbour, and also 
love your enemy. Listen, my brothers, and declare it 
throughout the whole world what I now say to you : 
Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you." 
He stopped, and a stir went through the assembly 
Words had been spoken the like of which had not 
before been heard in the world. A holy inspiration 
as It were, entered the universe at that hour such as 
had not been felt since the creation. 

Jesus continued speaking : " Do good to those who 
hate you ; that is how God acts towards men even 
when they mock at Him. Try to imitate the Father 
in heaven in all things. What good ye do, do it for 
the sake of God, not for the sake of men. Therefore 
the second commandment is as important as the 
first. Love God more than everything, and your 



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A PRISONERS STORY 



neighbour as yourself. But you shall not boast 
of your good works. When you give alms, do it 
secretly, and speak not of it, so that the left hand 
knows not what the right hand doeth. If you do not 
give up the goods of this world, you will not attain to 
the Kingdom of Heaven. If you fast, do not wear a 
sad face. Be cheerful ; what matters it that others 
should know that you fast? If you do not keep the 
Sabbath holy, you cannot see the Father. But when 
you pray, do it secretly in your chamber; you are 
nearest your Father in heaven in quiet humility. 
Use not many words in your praying as idolaters do. 
Not he who constantly praises the Lord finds Him, 
but he who does His will. Lift up your heart in 
trust, and submit to the will of Him who is in heaven. 
Honour His name, seek His kingdom. Ask pardon 
for your own fault, and be careful to pardon him 
who offends against you. Ask that you may re- 
ceive what you require for your needs each day, 
so that you may find strength against temptation, 
and freedom from impatience and evil desire. If 
you pray thus, your prayer will be heard ; for 
he who asks in the right way shall receive, and 
for him who continually knocks shall the gate be 
opened. Is there a father among you who would 
give his child a stone when he asks for bread ? And 
if a poor man grants his child's request, how much 
more the mighty, good Father in heaven. But be 
not too anxious for your daily needs : such anxiety 
spoils pure pleasure. If you heap up material goods, 
then death comes. Gather not the treasures which pass 
away ; gather spiritual treasures to your inner profit, 
treasures which your Heavenly Father stores up unto 
life eternal. Such a store will benefit the souls of 
those who come after you. Man is so fashioned that 



OF THE CROSS 



153 



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his heart always inclines to his possessions ; if his 
possessions are with God, then will his heart be with 
God. He who is for the body cannot be for the soul, 
because he cannot serve two masters. Earn for the 
day what ye need for the day, but take no care for 
the morrow. Be not anxious about what you shall 
eat to-morrow, about how you shall be clothed in the 
years to come. Trust in Him who feeds the birds 
and makes the flowers bloom. Shall not the Heavenly 
Father have greater love for the children of men than 
for the sparrow or the lily? Do not burden your 
life with cares, but be glad, glad, glad in God, 
your Father. Set your minds on the Kingdom of 
Heaven ; all else is second to that. ... I observe, 
my brothers, that these words come home to you ; 
but first see if the teacher follows His own pre- 
cepts. Beware of preachers, wolves in sheep's cloth- 
ing, who live otherwise than they teach. Whoever 
speaks to you in My name, look first at his works, as 
ye recognise the tree by its fruit. Judge men accord- 
mg to their works, but do not condemn them ! Before 
you condemn, remember that you yourself may be 
condemned As you judge others so shall you 
yourself be judged. How often, my friend, do you sec 
a mote in your brother's eye, while you do not see 
a whole beam in your own eye. Get rid of your own 
faults before you censure the faults of your brother 
The path which leads to salvation is narrow, and 
while you escape the abyss on the left hand you may 
fall into that on the right. And that you may 
proceed in safety along the narrow way, take heed to 
My words : Everything that you wish to be done unto 
you, that do unto others. Now, My brothers and 
sisters, in the land of cur fathers, let those of you who 
must return to your work, return and ponder on the 



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154 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

message I have brought you. Every one who has 
heard it, and does not live according to it, is like the 
man who builds his house on sand ; but he who lives 
in accordance with this teaching builds his house on 
the rocks, and no storm can destroy it. The words 
that I deliver to you in the name of the Heavenly 
Father will outlast all the wisdom of the earth. He 
who hears and does not heed is lost to Me ; he who 
follows My teaching will attain eternal life." 

Thus ended the speech which became one of the 
greatest events of the world. Many were terrified by 
the concluding sentences, for they heard the word 
but were too weak to follow it Their cowardice 
did not escape Jesus, and because He could not let 
any depart uncomforted, they seemed to hear Him 
murmur: "The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to 
those who untiringly reach out after it. Blessed 
are the weak whose will is good." 



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CHAPTER XVIIl 






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That Sabbath of the Sermon on the Mount became 
a most important day. When Jesus made an end of 
speaking, the people did not disperse, but pressed 
round Him to kiss the hem of His garment. 
Many who until then had been in despair could not 
tear themselves from Him. They wished to follow 
Him wherever He went, and to share His destiny. 
Whatever He might say to the contrary, that destiny, 
they felt sure, would be brilliant. Was He not tearing 
the masses from earthly thoughts that formed their 
curse. All they heard was His counsel upon absence 
of anxiety. But what would it be when He revealed 
the universal power of the Messiah ? Man/ said that 
the Sermon on the Mount was a trial of strength 
intended to steel the will for the holy struggle for the 
Kingdom of the Messiah that was now to be estab- 
lished on earth. 

People came out of Judaea ; they hastened from the 
valley of the Jordan ; they streamed from the hills. 
They came from the seaports of Tyre and Sidon, 
and some even came from lands far beyond the sea 
in order to discover if what the people on all sides 
were saying was true. They brought asses and 
camels, laden with gifts, and Jesus accepted what He 
and His friends needed, but declined the rest, or 
divided it among the people. For there were many 

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tn nf. .K f ^^^"^"<^^- And sick persons began 
to drag themselves to Him so that hV might hea" 
and comfort them. But the more they heard o 
mirac es wrought on the sick and crippled, the more 
miracles they desired, so that He grew ang'y and 
rem.„ded them that He did not coml en acco^'ntof 

out to th ' ^I'f'^'^' ^°"^«- Moreover. He pointed 
out to them that He was not the Messiah from whom 
men expected deh'verance and the estabhshment of 
the kmgdom of the Jews. But they regarded that 

^r^V^T' ^' P'"^^"* ^^^"'e. ""til the time was 
r pe for the entry of the great general. The 
curiosity increased at every new speech, and they 
hoped to hear Him sound the call to arms. Others 
hdd aloof and thought over the deeper meaning of 

^hL A^'v'"'^ '^ '' ^"^ P°^^'^^^ '^ comprehend 

In^Z > '""^ ;^^°rding to them. At first they 

found It easy and pleasant to be free from care, and 

o be conciliatory towards their neighbours. It suited 

!o%w'.u ""''^^> *° ""^^^ ^ ^'^'"^ °f necessity, 
so that their indolence and poverty appeared as 
meritorious. But after a few days they ^gan to 
realise that perhaps they had not understood the 
Masters words aright. Even the Samaritans from 
over the border listened to the strange teaching about 
heaven on earth. If the ancient writings spoke of 
future blessedness. Jesus spoke of present blessedness. 
A money-changer from Carioth was among His 
disciples. So far he had only been with the Prophet 
on Sabbaths ; on week-days he sat in his office and 
counted money and reckoned interest. But things 
did not go well, for while he was doing his accounts 
his thoughts were with the Master.and he made errors • 
and when he was with the Master his thoughts were 



OP THE CROSS 157 

with his money, and he missed what was beinc said 
He must leave either one or the other, and he cou d 
not dec.de which. But after listening o thelermon 
pUce oftr ''^''""""•-d to go'no monf toh" 
was l^,s belief m Him. And the exchange brought 

To r±'Z T .'" ^." *^ '" "^ "ad lent money 
to a man at two hundred per cent. For he would 
have treasure in the Kingdom of the Messiah 

were thrr^.T'' * "Ju "'°" "' '«^= ^«" ^eld aloof 

a car«nter 'id "'• ^'"'^ ^ ''"°™ *' P™?''-' "^ 
a carpenter, and were uncertain what position to take 

"P,.~\ "■■">• On the other haSd, the,^ were 
Galileans who came to Jerusalem, or Joppa, and were 
proud to hear their Prophet spoken of tK,and They 
pretended to be His acquaintances and friendT 
only to greet Him on their return with the same 

a proohltT'K- "' """^ '° ^y '"at no man wt 
a prophet m h.s own country. At this period Jesus 
often went to Nazareth, and always accompanied by 
an ever-mcreasmg number of followers. His mother 
could never get any confidential talk with Hta 
And H,s nafve place disowned Him. His yout": 
ful acquaintances fought shy of Him as an ec«„,r^ 
vagrant who opposed the law, stirred up th™ ' 
an^ from whose further career no g'rel. h^^^^^:; 
was to be expected. The Rabbi in the synagogue 
warn^ men of Him as of a public traL?^ He 
wouTd^ ""h, ardent .eal the ruin in whTh all 
would ^ involved who were persuaded by this 
tnan without a conscience to renounce the befef of 
the r ancestors. •■ There is only one true faith " he 
exclaimed "and only one God, and that is not the 

InH .r'r ^ °l *" "'^'^'"- ""' *« faith of" 
and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. IZ 



158 



A PRISONERS STORY 



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that God curses the false prophet and all his 
followers, so that the devil has power over him." 
And he continued sorrowfully: "His relations are 
greatly to be pitied, especially the unhappy mother 
who has borne such a son to the shame of the 
family and the grief of the whole land." And then 
the Rabbi alluded to a hope that they might perhaps 
succeed in bringing to reason the erring man who 
sinned so deeply against the law, if not by love, at 
least by a vigorous effort and display of authority, till 
He was made to resume the honourable handicraft in 
which He had once lived in a manner pleasing to God. 
And so it happened that Mary, when she left the 
synagogue and proceeded homewards, was scoffed 
at by her ill-natured neighbours, who gave her to 
understand that she might take herself off, and the 
sooner the better. She said nothing, but bade her 
weeping heart be still. 

One day Jesus was invited to dine down by thi 
lake with a friend who held the same views as 
Himself. There were so many people present that 
there was neither room nor food enough. They 
expected some miracle. Jesus was in a happy 
mood, and said that He wondered that people 
should rush after little wonders, and overlook the 
great ones; for all things that lived, all things 
with which we were daily surrounded, were pure 
and incomprehensible wonders. A . for the wonders 
men desired Him to work, the most important 
thing was not the turning of stones into bread or 
the making of the sick whole, but that such miracles 
should awaken faith. Faith was the greatest miracle- 
worker. While He was talking He was called away ; 
some one stood under the cedars who wished to 
speak to Him. He found two of His relations 



OF THE CROSS 



150 



there, who asked Him curtly, and without ceremony, 
what He purposed doing : did He propose to return 
to Nazareth or not ? If not, then He had better 
reahse that His house and workshop would be 
confiscated. 

Jesus answered them: "Go and tell your elders 
in Nazareth : The house belongs to him who needs 
It, and let him who has a use for the workshop have 
It. And leave Him in peace who would build a 
House in which there are many mansions." 

They remained standing there, and said : " If you 
turn a deaf ear and are heedless of us, there is some 
one else here." And then His mother came forward, 
bhe had thrown a blue shawl over her head. She 
looked 111, and could hardly speak for sobbing. She 
took hold of His hand: "My son! where will all 
this lead ? Can you undertake such responsibility ? 
You reject the belief of your fathers, and you deprive 
others of it." 

To which He replied: "I deprive them of their 
belief! On the contrary, I give them faith." 

" But, my child, I can't understand it. You are 
stirring up the whole country. The people leave 
their houses, their families, their work, to follow you. 
What enchantment do you practise on them ? " 

" They follow the tidings," He said. " They thirst 
after comfort as the hart pants for water." 

"And you call it comfort to starve and freeze in 
the wilderness," broke in one of his relations; "you 
call It comfort to deny oneself everything till our rags 
fall off our bodies, and we are taken by the soldiers 
as criminals ? Take heed. The governors at Caesarea 
and Jerusalem are displeased at the state of affairs. 
Ihey mean to put a stop to the demagogue's pro- 
ceedings, and they are right." 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



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•• Who is the demagogue ? " 

" Why, you, of course." 
^^ Jesus was surprised at the reply, and said :— 
" I ? I, who say to you, Peace be with you ! Love 
one another! Do good to your enemies! I, a 
demagogue ? " 

" They say you claim to be the Messiah who shall 
conquer the kingdom." 

•• A kingdom that is not of this world." 

Mary fell into His arms. " My dear son, leave all 
this alone. If it is to be, God will do it all without 
you. See how lonely your mother is at Nazareth ! 
Come with me to our peaceful home, and be once 
again my good, dear Jesus. And these here, they 
love you, they are your brothers." 

Then Jesus stretched out His arm and pointed to His 
followers, who had pushed their way into the house. 
" Those are My brothers I Those who acknowledge 
the Heavenly Father as I do, they are My brothers." 

His relations stepped back, and wrung their hands 
in perplexity. "He is out of His mind. He is 
possessed by devils." 

The people in the road who were looking over the 
fence felt sorry for the forsaken woman, and wanted 
to interfere; whereupon a voice exclaimed loudly: 
"Happy the mother who has such a son! The 
nations will arise and call her blessed ! " 

Jesus turned to them gravely. " Blessed are those 
who follow the word of God." 

His mother felt, as He spoke those words, as if she 
had been stabbed to the heart with a sword. The 
people were silent, and whispered to each other: 
"Why is He so hard towards His mother?" 

John the younger answered them : " He sees salva- 
tion only in God the Father. He has converted many 



OF THE CROSS lei 

people to His view, but just those whom He loves 
Helvcn ""°' '''^^" *° ^^^ *''''"^' °^ '^^ Kingdom of 
Jesus lifted up His voice and cried : " He who 
desires to be My disciple, and his parents and brothers 
and sisters do not believe in Me, he must forsake his 
parents and brothers and sisters in order to follow 
Me He who has wife and child, and they despise 
My tidings, he must forsake wife and child and follow 
Me If he wishes to be My disciple. Who does not 
love God more than mother and child, than brother 
and sister, yea. more than himself and h.s [i[<,, he is 
not worthy of God." 

^^ Many were troubled by this speech, and murmured : 
He asks too much." 

Then said John : "Whoever is in earnest about his 

He feels Himself how hard it is to destroy all tics 

a^,d Z r' ^^^^'-^^.^^^ "« struggles with Himself! 
and must subdue His own heart, so that it may lose 
Its power over Him ? He asks all from His disciples 

^ha^He h Jr •''" '"• "^^ ""''^^'y ^"- 'hat 
have gtn :;.' '" """"'' "°" ^^" ^" ^ 
His relations went away. They talked violently 
against Jesus. His mother could not endure that so 
she remained behind and climbed the stony path 'by 

Father which art m Heaven, Thy will be done » " 
And she had no idea that it was her son's prayer in 
which she found the same faith and comfort as ke 
did She knew not that thus she. too, became a dis- 
ciple of Jesus. 



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CHAPTER XIX 

Elsewhere Jesus's fame had become so great that 
all men came to Him. The poor crowded to Him in 
order to eat at His table where the word had become 
flesh. The rich invited Him to their houses, but He 
mostly declined those invitations, accepting, however, 
one here and there. 

He Himself went to those who humbly remained 
in the background and yet desired to go to Him. 
A man lived in the district whose greatest desire was 
to see the Prophet. When he heard that Jesus was 
coming his way, he began to tremble and to think 
what he should do. " I should like to meet Him face 
to face, and yet dare not venture to go to Him. For 
I have a bad reputation as a publican, and am not 
in any way worthy. Then He is always accompanied 
by so many people, and I am short and cannot 
see over their heads." When Jesus approached, 
the man climbed a bare sycamore-tree and peeped 
between the branches. Jesus saw him, and called 
out : " Zacch.x'us, come down from the tree ! I will 
come and visit you to-day." 

The publican jumped down from the tree and went 

over to Him, and said humbly : " Lord, I am not 

worthy that you should go to my house. Only say 

one word to me, and I shall be content." 

The people wondered that the Prophet should so 

us 



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A PRISONER'S 8T0BT OF THE CROSS 183 

honour this per»„ of somewhat doubtful character. 
Zaccteus was almost beside himself to think tha 

hou«= ^L H H T "" K""' everything that his 

^ss.» "'*"' "" "'°" P'"'""' 'Wng you 

"What is that, sir?" asked Zacchau.s in terror for 

he thought he had given of his best. - KvernhinJ 

I possess is yours." <-r.vming 

Then Jesus grasped his hand, looke,' at him 
jovrngly. and said: " Zacch^us, ' give mc vw 

The man became His follower. 

One day He was dining with a man who was very 
learned and a strict censor of morals. Several of S 
fn'tdlt? T" r°"^, "'" quests, and the talk, partl^ 

the Scriptures. At first Jesus took no part : He was 
thmkmg how much pleasanter it would bi to hTr 

rp':,te wi h"^"''' """^'^ "^^^'^^ »' home than to 
letter C ^ *"°«""' ^'^''°'"^ »'»'" 'he empty 
ion <^1 "'" "°°" ^'^'"" '■"'» *e conversa- 
tion Some one mentioned the commandment which 
enjoins a man to love his neighbour, and as often 
happens, the simplest things £came co",';'^ a„d 
inco„»prehensible in the varied opinions of the 
worldly-wise. One of the guests said: " tTs remark! 
able how we do not reflect on the most imrrLnt 

eS' o^'^h" 'k'^ "' '° "'"■• -" y«' "^^do 
ttem So^hM ^'' '"{; "'*"«■ ^^ •'""■t ""derstand 

Tr^u I ' '^^"y '^° no' know who it is I 

should love as myself" 

was!rttL"K^\^"'" *" '"^'■■P'* M^thew, who 
was sittmg by him at table, informed him. 



164 



A PRISONER'S STORY 




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" That is all right, my friend, if only I knew who 
was my neighbour! I run up agamst all sorts of 
people in the day, and if one of them trips me up, he 
is my neighbour for the time being. At this moment 
I have two neighbours, you and Zachariah. Which 
of the two am I to love as myself? It is only stated 
that you shall love one. And if it's you or Zachariah, 
why should I love either of you more than the 
Master who sits at the other end of the table and 
is not my neighbour ! " 

"Man! that is an impertinent speech," said the 
disciple Bartholomew reprovingly. 

" Well then, put me right ! " retorted the other. 
The disciple began, and tried to explain who the 
neighbour was, but he did not get very far, his 
thoughts were confused. Meanwhile the question 
had reached the Master. Who is, in the corre 1 
sense of the term, one's neighbour ? 

Jesus answered, by telling a story : " There was 
once a man who went from Jerusalem to Jericho. 
It was a lonely road, and he was attacked by high- 
waymen, who plundered him, beat him, and left him 
for dead. After a while a high priest came by that 
way, saw him lying there, and noticing that he was 
a stranger, passed quickly on. A little later an 
assistant priest came by, saw him lying there, and 
thought : He's either severely wounded or dead, but 
I'm not going to put myself" out for a stranger ; and 
he passed on. At last there came one of the 
despised Samaritans. He saw the helpless creature, 
stopped, and had pity on him. He revived him with 
wine, put healing salve on his wounds, lifted him up, 
and carried him to the nearest inn. He gave the 
host money to take care of the sufferer until he 
recovered. Now, what do you say ? The priests re- 



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OF THE CROSS igs 

Z't'X'^^^^T''- ■"- ">« S-^Hta„ saw in 
Then they explained it to themselves : Your neieh- 

f» ;o:;h:,;''°"' ""^ ^" "^'^ -^ -"^ '>= ^^4 

The disciple Thomas now joined in the conversa- 
t.on, and doubted if you could expect a greTt prince 
If tr"""" ""'^ -"^ ^"' "" ^ poof beggL^ut 

andlound'^M \ "" ^°" ^''^ ''5' "^ * g"-^^' ?"'"« 
and found IVIe lymg wretchedly in the gutter would 

you leave me lying there ? " 
;; Master ! " shouted Thomas in horror. 
Do you see, Thomas ? What you would do to the 
poorest, you would do to Me " 

to?h?n°/"" °f"" ^^^"^ '■ " ^'^ "-^ °"^y '" •» kind 
to the poor, and not to the rich and noble ? " 

And Jesus said : " If you are a beggar in the street, 

can do for h,m. But if his horse stumbles and he 
falls, then catch him so that his head may not strike 

nffjw?""^- ^' "'^' --"' -^ >«-■"- your 
Then some whispered : " It often seems as if He 
desired us to love all men. But that is too difficult." 
,.J,t ™"-y„««'y. brother," said Bartholomew. ■< To 
love the m.Ihons of men whom you never see, who 
do not do you any harm, that costs nothing. Hypo 

ovfthe'\"l 'H" ''''■ ^" '"^"'^ 'hey claimTo 
leighbour"'"'^ """'" ''''' '""^y - ""<' - 'heir 

easv to'lov7 '" ';? '''"" "'"■■■" '^''^ J""'- "«"d 't is 
easy to love good-tempered and amiable men. But 

how ,s ,t when your brother has wronged you and is 

always trymg to do you harm? Yol must forgive 



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166 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



him, not seven times, but seventy times seven. Go 
to him in kindness, show him his error. If he listens 
to you, then you have won him. If he does not heed 
you, repeat your warning. If still he heeds you not 
seek a friendly intermediary. If he will not heed 
him, then let the community decide. And only 
when you see your brother saved and contented will 
you be glad again." 

While they were talking thus, a young woman 
pushed her way into the room. She was one of 
those who followed Him everywhere, and waited 
impatiently at the door while the Master visited a 
house. Bending low, almost unnoticed, she hurried 
through the crowd, stooped down before Jesus, and 
began to rub His feet with ointment from a casket. 
He calmly permitted it; but His host thought to 
himself: No, He is no prophet, or He would know 
who it is that is anointing His feet. Isn't she the 
sinner of Magdala ? 

Jesus guessed his thoughts, and said : « My friend, 
I will tell you something. Here is a man who has 
two debtors. One owes him fifty pence, and the 
other five hundred. But as they cannot pay he 
cancels both the debts. Now say, which of them 
owes him most gratitude ? " 

" Naturally him to whom the most was remitted," 
answered the host. 

And Jesus : " You are right. Much has been re- 
mitted to this woman. See, you invited Me to your 
house, your servants have filled the room with the 
scent of roses, although fresh air comes in through 
the windows. My ear has been charmed with 
the strains of sweet bells, and stringed instruments, 
although the clear song of birds can be heard from' 
without. You have given Me wine in costly crystal 



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OF THE CROSS mi 

goblets, although I am accustomed to drink out of 

XrZT ■ ","' *« ^'y <■=«' ""ght feel sore 
after the long wandering across the desert only this 
woman remembered. She has much love, therefore 
much will be forgiven her." tntreiort 

One day when the Master had gone down to 
Capernaum He noticed that the disc^ whTwere 
wa k,ng m front of Him were engaged in quiet tot 

wrltt 't • • ""'^^ T^ "'^^"'^^ ' which'ofthem 
was most pleasmg to God. Each subtly brought 

otd^ef th': trcLt't u""' '"!r''' "■■^ 

LUC ccacning. Jesus quicklv steonprl 
nearer to them, and said: "Why do you indS 
s^h foohsh talk? While you are boasting o ^o r 
virtues, you prove that you lack the greatest Are 
you the righteous that you dare t. talkTSy r' 
_ Whereupon one of them answered timidly • " No 
s.r we are not the righteous. But you yourself said 
that there was more rejoicing in heaven over penitents 
than over righteous men." 

f„.'lI!'^"o '^'?'""S over penitents when they are 
humble. But do you know over whom there is 
greater rejoicing in heaven ? " 

By this time a crowd had formed round Him. 
Women had come up leading little children by the 
hand and carrying smaller ones in their arras in 
order to show them the marvellous man. Some of 
the boys got through between the people's legs to 
^he front in order to see Him and kiss the hem o? His 
fhatX .^"f P^°P'<= '"^'i '° keep them back so 
,„H I ^ ""' """^'^ ""= ^^''^'' but He stood 

•Suffer the f-;r '"' ^^'='"""=' '■" ' '-^ voice: 
buHer the little ones to come unto Me i " Then 

round-.aced, curly-he.ded, bright-eyed children ran 



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168 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

forward, their skirts flying, and crowded about Him, 
some merry, others shy and embarrassed. He sat 
down on the grass, drew the children to His side, and 
took the smallest in His lap. They looked up in 
His kind face with wide-opened eyes. He played 
with them, and they smiled tenderly or laughed 
merrily. And they played with His curls, and flung 
their arms round His neck. They were so trustful 
and happy, these little creatures hovering so brightly 
round the Prophet, that the crowd stood in silent 
joy. But Jesus was so filled with blessed gladness 
that He exclaimed loudly : « This is the Kingdom of 
Heaven ! " 

The words swept over the crowd like the scent 
of the hawthorn. But some were afraid when the 
Master added : « See how innocent and glad they are. 
I tell you that he who is not like a little child, 
he shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven ! And 
woe to him who deceives one of these children ! it 
were better he tied a millstone round his neck and 
were drowned in the sea ! But whosoever accepts a 
child for My sake accepts Me!" 

Then the disciples thought they understood over 
whom there was joy in heaven, and they disputed no 
longer over their own merits. 



CHAPTER XX 

Galilee was rich in poor men and poor in rich men. 
And it might have been thought that Jesus, the 
friend of the poor, was the right man in the right 
place there. And yet His teaching took no hold in 
that land. A few rich men among a multitude of 
poor have all the more power because they are few, 
and they used all their influence with the people to 
dethrone the Prophet from His height, and to under- 
mine His career. These illustrious men found their 
best tools in the Rabbis, who circulated the sophism 
that the people who followed the teaching of this 
man must quickly come to ruin. For the poor, who 
willingly gave up their last possessions, must become 
poorer, and the rich, who pursued their advantages, 
must become still richer, which implied that not the 
rich but only the poor would accept the Prophet's 
teaching, since we know that Jesus especially called 
on the rich to alter the tenor of their ways, and 
always for the benefit of the poor. But,' they 
answered : The rich will not alter the tenor of their 
ways, they will consume the gentle disciples of Jesus, 
as the wolf the sheep. Many were impressed by that 
view, and lost courage : The Prophet means well, they 
reflected, but nothing is to be gained by adopting 
His methods. 

Then it became known that Jesus had allowed 
Himself to be anointed. To allow Himself to be 

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A PRISONEB'S STOBY 



anointed meant that He regarded Himself as the 
Heaven-sent Messiah! And%hat was host«e to 
he existing order of things, to the king. So sa d 

thl Sngl's The":"; of"l °'" '"^ '"' *« 

thTltuetflhtiat '""^'^ °^ '"^ ''"'' ""' ™'>' f- 

thaT'^H.*^ woman who had anointed His feet saw 
that He was despised because of her, she went 
silently apart by herself. No human beingcred 
Z"""^ for Him, and none left Him so calmfy. She 

of pi y, and forgotten-out of love, but she went 
to relations at Bethany. Since the Prophet Tad 

loT^er T "5 "^'"^ '" ">^ P^°P'«. h- relatives no 
lo„g« dosed their doors to her, but received her 

under H,s feet, how the p :ople began to shun Him 

receiving H.m. So He went, with those who were 
true to Him, out into the rocky desert of Jud J He 
gamed new adherents on the way, and ^opTe came 
from the surrounding places with pack and staff to 
hear the wonderful preacher. Some had had ^ough 
of the barren wisdom of the Pharisees, others were 

and wUh th « "' "'^'^.^dministration of the coun"" 
and with the fine promises of the Romans, they wer- 

ZTlf f «ff' ""•«! depression, or in despr^; 

of men Th °' ""'"'= "''"'''• °^" '^^ ^arbarL 
Of men There were some, too, who had fled before 

dlrtl^;, '""'%°' '^^'^'"'^^ "''■■^•' infested th" 
desert to their undoing. They came into His pre- 



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OF THE CROSS 171 

sence hungering for the living word on which to 
feed their starving souls. John said to them: « His 
teaching ,s nourishment. His word is flesh. Who 
eats of His flesh and drinks of His blood will not die." 
They wondered at those words. How were they 
to understand what was meant by eating His flesh 
and drinking His blood? 

Then John: "The word is like flesh, it nourishes 
the soul. Manna was sent from heaven for our 
ancestors yet they died. His word is bread from 
heaven which makes us immortal." They remem- 
bered another saying : «« His flesh is food indeed ! " 
And they explained that a man's body is destined to 
be consumed by the spirit, like tallow and wick by 
Hame. So man in order to become divine, must attain 
the divine life through the medium of humanity. 

They remained with Him day and night in their 
thousands, and were satisfied. And many entreated 
Him to pour water over their heads as a token that 
they were His adherents and desired to be pure 

It was a starry night in the desert, one of those 
nights when the stars shine down in sparkling 
brilliance and envelop the rocks in a bluish shim- 
mer and vapour, so that it seems like a resurrection 
of glorified souls One of the disciples looked up at 

Brother, this infinitude of space makes me afraid." 
The other disciple : " I rejoice over that infinite 
space. 

Fath^n"''''°' '""'"' ""' '° ^'' '° ""y "^^^^"Jy 
" I take my joy to my Heavenly Father " 
They were all lying on the ground in a wide circle 

InT^^TA J^7 "'-'^"^ '" '^''> ^"^ '^^ "'"g^t was 
too beautiful for sleep. 



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And one of them began to say softly: "This is 
like the Kingdom of God." 

Another lifted his head, which had been resting on 
his arm, and said : " Do you know, then, what the 
Kmgdom of God is like ? " 

The first speaker was silent for a space, and then 
replied: "No. indeed, I don't know, but I like to 
think about it. He speaks so often of the Kingdom 
of Heaven. I should like to know something more 
definite about it." 

"Shall we ask Him?" 

•' You ask Him." 

" I dare not." 

"Let us ask John. He knows Him best, and 
possibly can tell us something." 

John was lying on the sand with his head on a 
stone. His soft hair was his pillow. But he was not 
asleep. They crept up to him, and boldly asked him 
where the Kingdom of Heaven was. of which the 
Master so often spoke. Was it under the earth or 
above the sun? Would it begin soon-or in a 
thousand years ? " 

John said : " How long have you been with Him ? " 

" Seven weeks." 

"And you don't know yet where the Kingdom 
of Heaven is ? Then you do not understand His 
language." 

" He speaks the language of our fathers." 

" He speaks the language of the Kingdom of God 

Remember, the Kingdom of Heaven is where God is. 

God is where Love is. where trustful, self-sacrificin? 

glad Love is." ^' 

" And where is that ? " 

" Where do you think ? " 

" 1 think Love must be in the heart." 



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OF THE CROSS 



173 



i 



i 



1 



Whereupon John answered : " Then you do know 
where the Kingdom of Heaven is." 

The two looked at each other, but did not quite 
seem to know. Then John went to Jesus, who was 
sitting on a rock and looking out into the darkness 
as if It was full of visions. His countenance was as 
bright as if the stars had lent it their brilliance. 

" Master," said John, " we cannot sleep. Tell us 
of the Kingdom of fieaven." 

Jesus turned round, and pointing to the disciple 
nearest him, said ; " To you is it granted to know 
the Kingdom of Heaven. To the others it can only 
be explained through parables. For the Kingdom of 
God is not built of wood or stone like a temple, it 
cannot be conquered like an earthly empire, it cannot 
be seen by mortal eyes like a garden of flowers, 
neither can we say it is here or there. The Kingdom' 
of God must be conquered with the power of the will, 
and he who is strong and constant will gain it. His 
eye and his hand must be continuallv set to the 
plough which makes furrows in the kingdom of earth 
for the great harvest. He who sets his hand to the 
plough, and looks at something else, he is not 
dedicated to the Kingdom of God. But to him 
who earnestly seeks it, it comes overnight. The 
seed thrown on the field yesterday has sprung up 
—man knows not how. The seed is the Word of 
God which was scattered on all sides. Part falls on 
the wayside, and the birds devour it. Part falls among 
thorns, and is choked. A part falls on a thin covering 
of earth, it comes up but is parched by the hot sun. 
Only a very small quantity falls on rich earth and 
bears much fruit. So it is with the tidings of God. 
Evil inclinations devour it, earthly cares choke it. 
burning passions parch it, but the heart that desires 



lii 




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174 A PRISONER'S STORY 

More and more heads were lifted up. " He is 

Tes's'l h'"h" ■"'"•"" """"^'^'^ """ "■^"-i 
Jesus raised His voice and went on: "Some 

of you who listen to Me have the Kingdom of 

Heaven within you. But be careful 1 Thf enemy 

comes in the night and sows weeds. Hel mo« 

The word IS like a grain of mustard-seed, n i" the 

smaliestof all seeds^and yet it becomes the Wgges 

fe^en Inf "' T^"^ ^°'" ''"°»''«dge a word has 
fallen into your heart. You are scarcely aware of it 
you pass It by, but it grows secretly, and alUt once 
enl^htenment is there, and you have the Kingdom 
of Heaven. Then, again, it is like yeast, and stirs up 
and changes your whole being. The Kingdom of 
Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. A man 
finds , and buys the field. And it is like f ^r" 

lest t^^: ^.'""P "hich a man must feed with oi 

io lil^aTd .^nf *f • " '■' ^°^ "'"• y" «'» have 
no light, and suddenly comes the r.ttack. And hear 

1 kine°who at ' "?'" '"■"^''°"' "• "--" -Ik" 

dete fitt fh "T"' 'T''' """'"' ^" '"•3 slave's 

debt but ilh r '''*' "»' ™'"''' ^'' ''^btor's 
debt, but lets h.m be cast into prison. So the kine 

summons him before his judgment-seat and s^ys I 

have shown you mercy, and you have shown you 

fellow no mercy. So now 1 shall have you put uZ 

lasr^rthi""' (vh 'r """ "-^ y°- deb^toTh 
last farthing. Who does not show mercy to others 
to him shall no mercy be shown " 

Jesus was silent, and a shudder of terror oassed 
through the crowd. John went to the man ^^h' 
had just questioned Him, and said : ■• Do you under! 



1 1; 



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OF THE CROSS 175 

^tand now what He .cans by the Kingdom of 

" I think so." 

"That is enough for the Dresen* Tf ;« 

there, you seek it elsewhere in vain." 

musf aLT* one ventured to say hesitatingly, « it 
must also be somewhere else. The Master Hi^ \r 
-ays: -Father who art in heaven'" "'""'" 

wherevertrte '" h" '"'"' '""«''°"' "' "»™" '^ 
faith an ^°th y^irtr'on?^""'^ "■'"' ^°" 

And the man asked no more 

jes's:^:^ t ru,nn;Tr rr tji '° ^"^^ 

had never lived save for ear h Tn/i, '"^ '"^"- 
was now too late to c W •■ H uT '"'"^ '* 
the Kingdom of Heaven?"^'- ""^ '^'" ' --^'h 
Then Jesus spoke as follows ■ 

ro;MXard°"^^ "n^lg^d-orK '="""-» 
another at noon, and the lastml ^ mornmg, 

the days work ^as almost ter'""?;'; 2"'!'." "'"^" 
hour came round, he gave eaTh g^"d I'^T-^'' 
those who had been hired in the mornin^^ j ^" 
complained that they had worked ITl' '"."°°" 
toil and heat of the davTnH u t"^" '" ">« 
Receive more wages 'Z\ ^o ::f;Uttw T 
evenmg, and had scarcely laboured Irar^ot 



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176 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



Then said the master of the vineyard : ' I told you 
beforehand the wages I should give you, and you 
were content. What is it to you how much I give the 
other ? Let him come to me late, or let him come to 
me as soon as it is morning. The chief thing is that 
he comes to me.' " 

Then the old man began to weep for joy that 
although he came so late to the vineyard of Jesus, he 
would still be employed. 

Since the Master was so ready to speak, others 
came to Him at this time, and entreated Him to clear 
up some matters which they did not understand. 
Once He related a story of a king who, when the 
guests he had invited to his wedding-feast refused to 
come, invited the people out of the highways. They 
came, but one had not a wedding garment on, and the 
king ordered him to be cast into the outer darkness. 
The Master intended it as a parable, but they could 
not understand it. The king was too severe they 
argued ; he must have known that people from off 
the highways would not be wearing wedding garments. 
Jesus was silent, but James observed : " Why, guests 
must know that it is not seemly to go to a king's 
wedding in torn and dirty clothes. All are freely 
invited, but he who comes unwashed and presump- 
tuous will be cast out into the darkness. No one is 
admitted who is unprepared." 

Another of His parables concerning the Kingdom of 
Heaven disturbed them. It was that of the unjust 
steward whom his master praised because he had 
prudently used the money entrusted to him in order 
to provide for himself. The steward knew that he 
would be dismissed, and secretly remitted to his 
master's debtors a part of their debts, so that he 
might stand well with them. And he did right 1 



OF THE CROSS 177 

thul "Noifetfl'r''"''' •■ " ' ""^«"'^"d '"e story 
111 1 1 ^^^ ^"y property on earth We are 

a I only the stewards of the property, and whenw^gL': 

we give whatTt;r "" "1^ '''^"''^ ^-'^^ 

<iZl u , \ ?' °""' *"^ ye' we do right " 
some shook their heads ovo/ti,- • . 

the rich and those learned „X% '"'^P'^^''°" J 

:r;u"r^"' -^at vj MU^rntt "hi 

must ^It'tlrT^ *""."'= "^^ *« '^'h, thft we 
must pray to God ,n truth, and that he who is of 

ml T".""? ""derstand God's word. 

chirroftt''r,r:rrtrr-^^^ 

M he*sef and r """ '"'"^" '"^ S^"- 
able tn^ the worms on the earth, and to be 

fimre Thl'ii*' dimensions of the sky wi^ 
that a'seLd^'nf " "■""? "■«=" '' '^ ^^t^Wished 

tur„VinrduitX'd™tr'?' r' ^ ^^"'^ "^^^ 

see those things tti; t'' w„^; ^' ^^ °- "" 

tt: t™th7.%or '"•^H "r^^ -vouiaiir^ 

hood I To L » , ** ""'^ °f S""* and false- 

So ' thi T ^'"^ "P*" '■" ""■"'^ and heart ! 

So they sought to increase their knowledge of 

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178 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



the Kingdom of Heaven ; hourly and daily did many 
a one rejoice because he had found what the wise 
men of the ages had sought after. 

The poor, the despised, and the unhappy came to 
Him more and more. That strange desert camp was 
often filled with the sick, the over-burdened, and the 
despairing. Many came from afar full of great 
troubles, yet borne up by hope, and then when they 
saw Him, tall and earnest, standing there and teach- 
ing men in deep sayings, their courage deserted 
them, they couid not trust Him. They were 
full of fear. Then He spread out His hands and 
exclaimed : " Come, come unto Me, all that are over- 
burdened and oppressed ; I will relieve you. I am 
not come to judge and to punish. I am come to 
find what is lost, to heal what is sick, and to revive 
what is dead. I am come to the sad to console them, 
to the fallen to raise them up. I give Myself for the 
redemption of many. My power is not of this world. 
I am Master in the Kingdom of God, where all are 
blessed in trustful, joyful love. Come to Me, all ye 
who have erred and gone astray. I have joy and 
eternal life for you." 

The disciples looked at each other in astonishment, 
He had never before spoken with such divine gentle- 
ness. The people, sobbing, crowded round Him, His 
words were as balm to their wounds. They wondered 
how it was possible for a man to speak so proudly, 
lovingly, and divinely. They gave themselves up to 
Him, filled with trust and enthusiasm ; in His 
presence the hungry were fed, the blind made to see, 
the lame walked, doubters believed, the weak became 
strong, and dead souls lived. 

Simon always rejoiced greatly whenever new 
wanderers came by, and, withdrawing from their 



OF THE CROSS 



179 



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f 






companions, took a vow to follow the Master's teach- 
ing. He was exceedingly angry when they refused, 
alleging that it was not possible to accomplish what 
He demanded of them. Jesus related a story in 
connection with Simon's emotions. " A man had 
two sons, and told each of them to go and work 
in his field. One said, 'Yes, father, I will go at 
once.' But afterwards he reflected that the work was 
hard, and he did not go. The other son told his 
father to his face that he would not go into the field • 
!t was too much labour. When he was alone he 
thought. • I will do my father's will,' and he went into 
the field and worked. Which of the two. in your 
opinion, did right?" 

A man learned in the Law replied: "He who 
promised to go. For it stands bitten : ' He who 
declares himself ready to obey t .; Law.'" 

But Jesus was vexed at that reply, and said in 
sorrow: " It is extraordinary how falsely you inter- 
pret the Law. Sinners who sincerely repent will find 
their way to the Kingdom of Heaven before such 
expounders of the Law." 

From that time forward Simon rejoiced no more 
over empty promises, nor did he vex himself over 
the refusals of those who would perhaps come later 
to take up the heavy work. Patiently, as once he 
had waiter ^ the lake for the fish to come to his 
nets, he now waited until they came. And he 
understood a mystic saying of his Master : " All are 
called, many come, few remain." 



;■•( 






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CHAPTER XXI 

At that time there hved In Jerusalem, the royal 
city, a man who was perfectly happy. He had 
everything that makes life pleasant : great wealth, 
powerful friends, and beautiful women who daily 
crowned his head with wreaths of roses. He was 
still young, every one of his wishes was fulfilled, 
and it seemed as if things would always be the same. 
And yet sometimes, amid all the joy and gladness 
there would be a quiet hour in which he thought 
over and measured his good fortune, and then he felt 
afraid. Yes, he was greatly troubled, for every day 
he saw, on all hands, how property vanished, and how 
the coffiiw of those who the day before had been 
enjoying life were carried to the grave. 

Then this man, who, although he was happy, was 
yet beset with fears, heard that there was a prophet 
out in the wilderness who had eternal life. He knew 
of everlasting wealth and happiness, and half the 
world were flockiag to him in order to share in it. 
So Simeon — that was his name — determined to seek 
out this man. He locked up his precious stones in 
iron chests, delivered his pf.iaces, vineyards, ships, 
and servants into the keeping of his steward, gave his 
women to the protection of the gods, and gathered 
his slaves round him. He rode out of the town on 

180 






\ r, 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 181 

a thoroughbred steed, he wore soft, bright- coloured 
garments adorned with gold and jewels, his scimitar 
at his side, and waving feathers of rare birds in his 
hat. A troop of servants accompanied him, and by 
his side rode Moors on African camels, holding a 
canopy over him to protect him from the sun, and 
fanning him into coolness with flowery fans. They 
brought with them fruits of the east and the south 
in golden dishes, tasty fishes and game, rare wines 
and incense, and pillows for sleeping on. During 
its progress the procession met black figures carrying 
a dead man. The body lay swathed in white linen on ' 
a high board, and a raven circled round it in the air. 
Simeon turned indignantly away ; he had a horror of 
all that was dead. He scattered coins among the 
mourners, for he would have liked to throw a gay 
covering adorned with precious stones over all sorrow 
and mourning. 

When he reached the mountains his horse began 
to stumble and falter. The steed's hoofs were in- 
secure on the ringing flat stones ; he reared his head 
and snorted, and would not go on. Simeon took 
counsel how he was to proceed. Natives leading 
mules came by, and offered them to him, but he 
refused. He could not go to the Prophet who held 
the key to imperishable wealth and eternal life on 
such contemptible beasts. His slaves had to make 
a litter, and h( lay under its glittering canopy on 
soft cushions, while six Moors bore their master thus 
into th^ desert. When they rested at an oasis, 
it was like a royal camp; servants handed him' 
water from the spring in a crystal goblet, skilful 
cooks prepared the meal, beautiful women, whose 
skin was soft as velvet and brown as copper, spread 
out their black hair for him and delighted him with 



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182 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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harp-playing, while armed men kept watch against 
the desert chief, Barabbas. 

The country became more and more uninviting, 
and it was almost impossible to avoid many dis- 
comforts. Simeon remembered the comfort of his 
palace in Jerusalem, and contemplated turning back. 
And yet the thought of the wise man who could help 
him to immortality proved too attractive. People 
came over the bare hills who told of the teacher at 
the other extreme of the desert, how He gathered at 
times all kinds of people round Him and spoke of the 
everlasting Kingdom of God. And so the swaying 
litter went on farther, and the next day reached the 
valley through dry rocky ravines, and found there a 
few olive and fig trees. People crowded round one 
of the fig-trees ; they were for the most part poor, 
sad-lookmg creatures, miserable outcasts wandering 
homeless and loveless, here and there. Clothed in 
scanty rags, their forms bent, they turned their 
faces towards the tree, for there He stood and 
spoke. 

" Be ye not sad nor cast down. You miss nothing 
of the world's attractions. Yours is the Father and 
His Kingdom. Trust in Him ; you are His. You 
shall be made glad through love; things will be 
easier for you if you love than if you hate. And in 
every misfortune that comes upon you, keep a stead- 
fast soul, and then you have nothing to lose." 

Simeon clearly heard the strange words, and 
thought to himself: "Can this be ITe? No, a wise 
man does not surround himself with such a shabby 
poverty-stricken crowd. And yet they say it is He." 
Simeon got out of his litter and drew his scimitar. 
Then he pressed forward amid the disagreeable 
smell of old clothes, i:nd of the perspiring crowd. 



u\ 



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OF THE CROSS J83 

Oh how repulsive is the odour of the poor ! The 
multitude shyly gave way to the brilliant figure, 
for never had its like been seen in the Master's 
neighbourhood. Jesus stood calmly under the 
fig-tree and saw the stranger coming. He stood 
still three paces off him. beat his head, placed his 

^'"c.°? ^''.J'T' "'^^ ^ '^'"^ ^h° &r««t« another, 
isir. said the stranger, and his voice was not 
sharp and shrill as when he gave his servants orders, 
but low and hoarse. " Sir, I have come a long way 
1 have sought you a long while." 

Jesus held out His hand to him in silence. 

Sinieon was excited. He wanted to explain his 
object at once so as to return to Jerusalem without 
delay, but the words would not come. He stammered 

vr ^u' r *^^* y°" understand about eternal 
hfe. Therefore am I come to you. Tell me where 
It IS to be found. What shall I do in order to 
possess eternal life?" 

Jesus stepped forward a pace, looked earnestly at 
the man and said : "If you desire to live, keep the 
commandments of Moses." 

^ "Of Moses?" returned the stranger, surprised. 
. But I do. Although I am of pagan descent 
m these matters I follow the people among whom I 

to^et':tV'^"°^^'^P°''"^- ^'^^^- '-"' 
Then said Jesus: "If you desire to live for ever 
follow Him who lives for ever. Love God above 
everything, and your neighbour as yourself." 

" Oh. Master." said Simeon. " that is just what I 
strive to do. And yet I am afraid." 

Whereupon Jesus said: "You are afraid because 
you ought to do it, and desire to do it, and yet do it 
not. You possess palaces in the town, fertile acres 



184 



A PRISONERS STORY 



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in the country, ships on the sea. laden with precious 
things from all quarters of the world. You possess 
a thousand slaves. Your stewards would fill many 
volumes if they wrote down all that you possess." 
" Sir, how do you know evci^thing? " 
"My fnV.id, your brilliant train spells wealth ; but 
look at the people who follow Me. They have poor 
garments but glad souls, they have the Kingdom of 
God within them. If you are in earnest, you must 
give up all you possess." 
" Give up all I possess ?" 
You must give it up and become like these. 
Then come to Me, and I will lead you to everlast- 
ing life." 

When Jesus had said that and more, the stranger 
cast down his head, and slowly stepped back. What ? 
I must become like these lowly, beggarly people? 
must deliberately step out of my accustomed circle 
mto this boundless misery ? No, no man could do it. 
He returned to his suite in very low spirits. 

Jesus looked after him thoughtfully with a kindly 
glance. 

" Who is he ? " the disciples asked. " He wears 
royal garments. We have never seen such silks. Is 
he a priest from the East? If he came in order to 
make us gifts, he has forsfotten his intention." 

Paying no heed to the iesting words, the Master 
said thoughtfully : « It is difficult to gain a rich man 
for blessedness. Men's wills are too weak. Their 
bodies are lapped in luxury, yet scorn of the soul leaves 
them a prey to fear. Yes, My friends, it is easier for a 
camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich 
man to enter our heaven." 

The word was spoken more in sorrow than hi 
anger. And then some one ventured to say : " Yes, 



OF TIIE CROSS 



185 



if the commandments are too hard, there mjst be 
sm. Men arc bound to transgress them." 

Jesus looked at the trembler : " Why then am I 
come? Why then do I si )w you how light the 
burden is ? Do you not see for yourselves how free 
a man is when he has thrown off great cares and 
desires? Nay, you will never see that till the grace of 
God is given you." 

They scarcely heard what He siid. The brilliant 
procession had attracted their attention, and as it 
moved off with its horses, camels, riders. Moors, and 
lovely women, they looked after it with longing eyes 
A little old hunchbacked Israelite, who was cower- 
ing behind a block of stone, murmured with some 
malice: "Seems to me they'd rather go with the 
heathen than wait here for the grace of the Heavenly 
Father." ' 

Simeon once more lay in the swaying litter and 
thought. He tried to reconcile his unaccomplished 
purpose with his conscience. This Prophet— he was a 
visionary. What could the Kingdom of God within 
us mean r Visionary ! intended only to make people 
lazy and incapable. A doctrine for vagabonds and 
beggars! And so that was living for ever' So 
long as he lived he should believe himself to be right 
and v'hen he was dead, he could not know that he 
had been wrong. And than the social danger. The 
possessor not the owner c " his own property ? He 
must give it up, share it with the poor? Such 
equality of property or lack of pn perty would prevent 
all progress, and plunge everything into mediocrity 
No, that is not my salvation ! Ah well, this journey 
into the deserti will be an advantage to me in one 
way : it will make me feel happier than ever in 
my comfortable house. 



/, 










186 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



He took the opportunity of a last look at the place 
on which he now turned his back. Several, attracted 
by the brilliant cavalcade, had followed from afar. 
Three of the disciples had even come after him in 
order to set right a misunderstanding. They came 
up with the stranger at a spring which gushed forth 
from a rock, and grass grew round it. The Moors 
wished to prevent them coming nearer, but Simeon 
recognised that they were not dangerous, and let 
them approach him. 

James, one of the disciples, said : " Great Lord, it 
is a pity. You are one of the few who have left our 
Master without accomplishing their purpose. It 
would not be quite so hard as you think. He himself 
says that if a man only has a good vill he is never 
lost. The will to live for ever is the thing." 

" What do you mean ? " exclaimed Simeon. " His 
demands are quite impossible." 

"Must everything be taken so literally?" said 
James. " The Master always puts the ideal hi' *:, 
and expresses it in lofty words, so that it nay the 
better stay in the memory." 

Simeon waved them aside with his gold-encircled 
hand. "To give up all I possess! To become 

horribly poor ? " 

Then another disciple stepped forward, stood before 
him in a sad-coloured garment, crying : " Look at us. 
Have we given up everything ? We never had much 
more than we have now, and what we had we have 
still. Our brother Thomas has only one coat because 
he is full-blooded ; I have two coats because I easily 
feel cold. If I had poor legs the Master would allow 
me an ass like Thaddeus. Every one has what hq 
needs. You need more than we do because you are 
accustomed to more. But you cannot use all that 



!#'* 



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OF THE CROSS 



187 



3 



'•3 



it 



you have for yourself. And yet you need it for the 
many hundreds o( m'^n you employ, who work for 
the good of the country, and h"ve by you. I say 
that your property belongs to you by righ. just as my 
second coat to me, and that you can quite well be 
His disciple." 

"You chatter too much, Philip, said James re- 
provingly. « If a man makes a pilgrimage of repen- 
tance towards eternal life, he doesn't travel like the 
Emperor of the Indies, or ' le does, he doesn't know 
what he wants. Believe me, noble sir, wealth is always 
dangerous, ever fo.- life. The best protection agairst 
envy, hate, and sudden attacks is poverty." 

There was a third disciple, Matthew, with them, 
and he addressed himself not to the stranger, but to 
his comrades, and said : " Brothers, it must be clearly 
understood that he who desires the Kingdom of 
Heaven must give up everything that causes h' ; 
unrest; otherwise he cannot be entirely with t* 
Father. But you," turning to the great man from 
Jerusalem, "you do not wish to break with the world? 
Well, then, do one thing, love your neighbour. 
Keep your silken raiment, but clothe the naked. 
Keep your riding-horse, but give crutches to the 
lame. Keep your high position, but free your slaves. 
Only if you think what is broright you from the 
fields, the mines, the workshops is yours, then woe 
be to you ! " 

•' I would willingly do one thing," said Simeon. 

" Good ! then say to your slaves, « You are free. If 
you will continue to serve me, I will treat you well. 
If you prefer to go your own way, take what you 
require of good clothing and mules.' Will you do 
that, stranger?" 

" You fanatic I " shouted Simeon angrily. « What 



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188 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



notions you have about men. They're not like that. 
Life's very different from that ! " 
" But h'fe will be like that some day," said Matthew. 
" He is a Messiah who destroys the Kingdom instead 
of building it," exclaimed Simeon, jumping into his 
litter and giving the sign to depart. 

The procession moved on slowly, its glitter showing 
tip against the dark rocks of the desert track. The 
disciples gazed after it in silence. 

A little old man lay on the yellow sand. He was 
so gray and dwarfish that he looked like a mountain 
sprite. The old fellbw was at home in the bare, big 
rocks. He loved the desert, for it is the home of great 
thoughts. He loved the desert where he hoped to find 
the entrance to Nirvana. Now when the disciples 
passed near him as they were returning to the Master, 
he pushed the upper part of his body out of the 
sand, and asked : " What did the man want to whom 
you were speaking ? " 

" He wanted to be able to live for ever." 
"To live for ever!" exclaimed the old fellow in 
surprise. "And that is why the man drags himself 
across the desert. What extraordinary people there 
are! Now I could go any distance to find my 
Nirvana. I only desire eternal life for my enemies. 
It is many a day since people said I was a hundred 
years old. If you are men of wisdom, teach me, tell 
me what I must do to reach Nirvana?" 

They were astonished. It was like something out 
of a fairy tale. A living creature who did not wish 
to live I But Matthew knew how to answer him. 

" My friend, your desire is modest, but it can never 
be fulfilled. You will never be nothing. If you die, 
you lose only your body, not yourself. You will,' 
perhaps, not live, but you will be just as the same 



OF THE CROSS 



189 



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as now : you are not living now, and yet you exist. 
Breathing and waiting is not living. Living is 
fulfilment, is love—is the Kingdom of Heaven." 

" My Kingdom of Heaven is Nirvana," said the 
little old man, and buried himself again in the sand. 

As they went along Matthew said : " He fears 
everlasting existence because he does not recognise a 
God. But he is not so far from us as the man who 
loves the world." 

Simeon went on his way, and towards evening 

reached the oasis of Kaba. He ordered his people 

to encamp there for the night. The servants, 

porters, and animals formed the outer ring, the 

tent— in which he took his supper, stretched himself 

on his cushions, and let himself be fanned to sleep 

by the maidens— was in the centre. But he did 

not sleep well. He had bad dreams: his house 

in Jerusalem was burnt down, his ships were 

wrecked, faithless stewards broke open his chests. 

And amid all, always the cry, "Give it all up!" 

About midnight he awoke. And it was no longer 

a dream, but terrible reality. A muffled noise 

could be heard throughout the camp, dark forms with 

glittering weapons moved softly about, in the camp 

Itself crawling figures moved softly here and there. 

A tall, dark man, accompanied by Bedouins, carrying 

torches and knives, stood in front of Simeon. 

" Do not be alarmed, my princely friend ! " he said 
to Simeon, who jumped up ; but none could tell 
whether he spoke from arrogance or authority 
kindly or in scorn. « It's true we are disturbing 
your night's repose, but, provided you give no 
trouble, we have no evil designs. Hand over all 
that you possess." 

In the first confusion the wretched man thought 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



he heard the Prophet speaking, but he soon noted 
the difference. The Prophet and His disciples gave 
up everything that they possessed. This man took 
everything that others possessed. 

"I know you, proud citizen of Jerusalem. I 
am Barabbas, called the king of the desert. It is 
useless to resist. Three hundred men are at this 
moment keeping watch round your camp. We've 
settled matters with your servants and slaves ; they 
are powerless." 

It was clear to the poor rich man what the chiet 
meant. His slaves, were slain, he was menaced by 
a like fate. What had that disciple of the Prophet 
said? Wealth endangered life, and poverty pro- 
tected it. If he had set his followers free, giving 
them what they needed, and wandered about in 
simple fashion on his own legs, the robber's knife 
would not now be pointed at his breast. In un- 
restrained rage he uttered a brutal curse: "Take 
whatever you can find, and do not mock me, you 
infamous beast of the desert ! " 

"Calmly, calmly, my dear sir," said the chief, 
while dusky men rolled up carpets, clothes, arms, 
jewels, and golden goblets, and threw them into big 
sacks. "See, we are helping you to pack up." 

"Take the rubbish away," shouted Simeon, "and 
leave me in peace." 

The chief, Barabbas, grinned. " I fancy, my friend, 
that you and I know each other too well for me to 
let you go back to Jerusalem. You would then have 
too great a desire to have me with you. You would 
send out the Romans to search for me, and bring me 
to the beautiful city. The desert is much more to my 
taste : life is pleasanter there. Now, tell me where 
the bags of coin such as a man like you always 



OF THE CROSS 



191 



No? Then you 






1 



carries about with him are hidden, 
may go to sleep." 

He who went forth to seek eternal life is now in 
danger of losing mortal life. In terror of death, cold 
sweat on his brow, he began to haggle for his life 
with the desert king. He not only offered all that he 
had with him. The next caravans were bringing him 
rare spices and incense ; bars of gold, diamonds, and 
pearls were coming in the Indian ships, and he would 
send all out to the desert, as well as beautiful women 
slaves, with jewels to deck their throats. Only he 
must be allowed to keep his bare life. 

Grinning and wrinkling up his snub nose, Barabbas 
let it be understood that he was not to be won 
with women and promises— he was no longer young 
enough. Neither would he have any executioner 
despatched in search of him— he was not old enough. 
And he had his weaknesses. He could not decide 
which would suit the noble citizen's slender, white neck 
best, metal or silk. He took a silken string from the 
pocket of his cloak, while two Bedouins roughly held 
Simeon. 

Meanwhile, outside in the camp, the second chief 
was packing the stolen treasure on the camels by 
torchlight. Whenever he stumbled over a dead body 
he muttered a curse, and when his work was finished 
he sought his comrade. Women in chains wept 
loudly, not so much on account of their imprison- 
ment—they took that almost as a matter of course- 
but because their master was being murdered in the 
tent So the second chief snatched a torch from a 
servant, hastened to the tent, and arrived just in the 
nick of time. 

"Barabbas!" he exclaimed, taking hold of the 
murderer, "don't you remember what we determined? 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



We only kill those who fight ; we do not kill defence- 
less persons." 

Barabbas removed his thin arms from his victim 
and in a tearful voice grumbled : " Dismas, you are 
dreadful. I'm old now, and am I to have no more 
pleasure ? " 

Dismas said meaningly: "If the old man does 
not keep to his agreement, the troop will have its 
pleasure, and, for a change, swing him who likes to 
be called king of the desert." 

That had the desired effect. Barabbas knew the 
band cared much more for Dismas than for himself, 
and he did not wish matters to come to a climax. 

When day dawned a mule was led to Simeon. 
One of his slaves, with his wounded arm in a sling, 
was allowed him, and he carried some bread and 
his cloak, and led the beast. And so the citizen of 
Jerusalem returned to the town he had left a week 
before under such brilliant circumstances, a defeated 
and plundered man. 

The affair attracted great attention in the city. 
Armed incursions were eagerly made into the desert 
between Jerusalem and the Jordan, where one 
evil deed after another was reported. Even the 
Rabbis and Pharisees preached a campaign to clear 
the rocks and sandy flats of the dangerous and 
destructive hordes by which they were infested. 
The famous band of the chiefs, Barabbas and Dismas 
—so it was said— were not the worst. Much more 
ominous were the vagrant crowds that gathered 
about the so-called Messiah from Nazareth, who, 
feeling himself safe in the desert, indulged in dis- 
orderly speeches and acts. So it was settled to send 
out a large company of soldiers, led by the violent 
Pharisee, Saul, a weaver who had left his calling out 



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OF THE CROSS 193 

°^^uVVu^ '""• '" "'^^ '° fr«« the land from the 
mob of robbers and heretics 

Jj'fJ^^'J^'' "■"'" °''™''^' 'he old robber- 

reSwZ ° t"'' ~"'""°"- "'■' heart had never 
really been „, h,s cnminal calling. Murder was par- 
ticularly hateful to him. and, so far as he was free 
to do so he had always sought to avoid it Now 
even plundering and robbing became hateful to him. 
In the n,ght he had visions of the terrible Jehovah 

sWered Ti hV°'"' ""^ "''''' P^'^^^'-er, and con 
sidered ,t high time to repent. So one day he said 
to Barabbas : .• Do you know, comrade, there is ust 
now a prmce at the oasis of Silam who has with hta 
mmensely more wealth than that citizen of Jerusalem" 

totrathiririr' "i ?-?'<=• -^ / knowhi 

to get at him. Shall we take this lord ? " 

"If you continue to be so useless, Dismas vou'll 
be flung to the vultures." Such were the term° in 
which Barabbas thanked his ally. It w^ dedded 

hat the attack should be made. Dismas led the 4„d 
towards the oasis of Silam. Barabbas went w^ ht 
steed decorated with gay-coloured feathers an iron 

to°Ts!t r^-' ""'• ^°' '■' "=•' ' P""- -hom he .^s 
to VIS t! Dismas encamped his men under a rockv 
precipice. And when at night-time all rested in order 

the^n • n-' '"'"' °" '"' P""«'y t^ain earT," 
the morning, Dismas climbed the rocks and gave th« 
signal. The Roman soldiery hidden behind k 
rocks cut down all who opposed them, an^tok the' 
rest prisoners, Dismas and Barabbas amonrthem 
When the latter saw that he had been tetrlyed 

"Wfat \T '■".'■" ^"^'"^ '"'^ ' wild aS 
What would you have, brother i- ■' said DismaT?!' 
Barabbas. who had often scorned him so bUterly 
Am I not a prisoner too? Haven't you alway^' 






194 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

preached that right lay with the stronger ? So then 
the Romans are right this time. Once you betrayed 
me and forced me to join the plundering Bedouins, 
nK)st excellent Barabbas, and now it's my turn. I've 
betrayed you to the arm ot Rome. And we'll 
probably be impaled ! " Then, as if that were a real 
delight, he brought his hand down cheerfully on his 
companion's shoulder so that his chains rattled. 
"Yes, my dearest brother, they will impale us!" 

They were brought in gangs to Jerusalem, where 
they lay in prison for many long months awaiting 
death. On account of his self-surrender, Dismas had 
been granted his wish for solitary confinement. He 
desired, undisturbed, to take stock of his wasted 
life. A never-ending line of dark, bloody figures 
passed before him. But there was one patch of 
light amid the gloom. It had happened many 
years ago, but he had a very clear remembrance of 
that distant hour. A young mother with her child 
rode on an ass. The infant spread out his little arms 
and looked at him. But never in his life had human 
creature looked at him like that child had looked, 
with such a glance of ardent love. 

If only once again, before he died, he could out 
see a beam of light like that. 



CHAPTER XXII 

When the people who had gathered round Jesus 

heard that Saul, the terrible weaver, was scouring 

the desert with a troop of police, they began to meU 

away. They feared unpleasant consequences. They 

fully recognised the right, but most of them were 

disinclined to suffer persecution for that right. They 

must return to their d-mestic duties, to their families, 

industries, and commerce, and, so far as was possible! 

live according to the Master's teaching. They left 

Him because it seemed to them that His cause was 

falling. In the end there were just a few faithful ones 

who stayed with Him, and even some of them were in 

hopes that He would reveal the power of the Messiah. 

B"t they all urged Him to repair to some other 

neighbourhood. Jesus was not afraid of having to 

render an account of Himseli to His adversaries in 

Jerusalem, but the time had not yet come, the work 

was not yet finished. He knew that He could never 

retrace His steps, for the more incontestable His 

justification was, the more dangerous it would seem 

to them. With His nowdwindled troop of followers He 

left the desert to revisit once again His native Galilee. 

But here His opponents were no better than 

before ; houses were closed as He approached, the 

people got out of His way when He began to 

speak. Only Mary, with all a mother's simple faith 

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A PRISONER'S STORY 



said : " Ah, you have come at last, my son I Now 
stay with me ! " 

There was, however, no place for Him in the house. 
A strange apprentice from Jericho was established in 
the workshop. He worked at the wood with the 
hatchet and saw that Jesus had once handled ; sat 
by the hearth and at the table where Jesus had once 
sat ; slept in the bed on which Jesus had once re- 
posed. But it did not seem that he enjoyed the same 
pleasant dreams for he groaned and tossed about, 
and when he wakened was ill-pleased at having to 
continue the same work which he had ill-humouredly 
laid aside the evening before. How often did Mary 
look at him in silence, and think of the difference 
between him and her Jesus. And she saw how the 
man car'^lessly ate his meals, and went to his bed 
each day, while her son was perhaps perishing in a 
strange land, and had no stone whereon to lay His 
head. 

And now Jesus was once again with her. 
" Mother," He said to Mary, " don't speak impatiently 
to Aaron. He is poor, discontented, and sullen; 
he has found little kindness in men, and without 
exactly knowing it, thirsts for kindness. When you 
would bring Me water in the morning to wash with, 
take it to him. When you would prepare dinner 
for Me, prepare it for him. When you would bless 
Me in the evening, bless him. Love may perhaps 
do what words cannot. Everything that you think 
to do for Me in My absence, do for him." 

"And you— you will have nothing more from 
me?" 

"Mother, I want everything from you, I am 
always with you. You can be good to Me in showing 
kindness to every poor creature. I must le..d men 



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OF THE CROSS 197 

ulUrlT '""^^"^"' be you genth. I must burn the 

wounH, 7 °"' u' .^""^ ^"^' y°" «»^^" heal the 
wounds I trust be the salt, be you the oil." 

that ''FnrT;''' """u ^''"" "" ^P°>^^- ^° »^^^ "•<« 
tftat. For that was her life-to be kind, to help 

crating such deeds of kindness till they became a 

Now that He had appealed to her love, she did rot 

and rJ°" ^'^' '"'' °"'" "^^'■^ ^^ °"^ ^^^th Him, 
her w'^r °f Pf^««"timent that in future times 

her bleeding mother's heart would be satisfied beyond 
meisure. wv-jrwj.u 

to see ,f the seed of His teaching had sprung up 
any«-here. But the earth was barren. He was no? 
^o much troubled by the passionate enmiry with 

at'instT^ "^ri'' "'■'"- "' ""^ '"'S^ -urnfurrngs 
agamst H,m and H,s word, as by indolence of mind, 

l^TanitT'eS'iacrr '° TT"'"'^ 
d^erenc; toUtirit^ Hf^ rfirtX ntei; 

atten onTrS f "" ''P'^"'"" "ad complued 
was old or new, it was all one to them. One was iul 

fe nt" 'TLh'.'l"^'-^"' *^^ remained S! 
dav" I J 1 1"'' '^* ~''^'" J""^ exclaimed one 

Zr,fl^ •''^^"^^'^ '" "«'"'■«" lands, or in 

the rumed seaports of Tyre and Sidon, they would 

tault TnT.'' '" f'='^^'°'" ""'■ '^h^' Had I 
taught m Sodom and Gomorrah, those towns would 
stm be standmg. But these places here in G^Uee 
are sunk .„ a quagmire of shame, they scorn theTr 




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198 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



Prophet. When the day of reckoning comes, it 
will go worse with this land than with those towns. 
My poor Bethsaida, and thou, fair Magdala! And 
thou, Capernaum the beautiful ! How I loved you, My 
people, how highly did I honour you ; I desired to 
lift you to Heaven. And now you sink in the abyss. 
Pray to him, your Mammon, in the days of your need ; 
there will be no other consolation for you. Carouse, 
laugh, and be cruel to-day; to-morrow you will be 
hungry and you will groan : Ah, we have delayed too 
long! Believe me a day will come when you fain 
would justify your lives to Me, crying : ' Lord, we would 
willingly have given you food, drink, and lodging, 
but you did not come to us.' But I did come to 
you. I came in the starving, the thirsty, the 
homeless, only you would not recognise Me. I 
will not accuse you to the Heavenly Father, but 
Moses, whose commandments you have broken, will 
accuse you. And when you appeal to the Father, 
He will say : 'I know you not' " 

The disciples trembled and were terrified in mind 
and soul when He spoke those angry words. But 
they were not surprised, for the people had sunken 
very low. 

He woke His comrades in one of the next nights 
and said : " Get up and let the others sleep ; they will 
not go with us, our way is too hard. Enemies will 
be on us. Whoever of you fears, let him lie down 
again." Many did lie down again, and those who 
went with the Master numbered twelve. 

They wandered over the heights of Cana, over the 
mountains of Gischala till close on midnight, and then 
again till sundown. The disciples knew not whither 
they were going ; it was enough that they were with 
Him. On the way they found many of the same 



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OF THE CROSS 



100 



mind, and also some who invited the Master to their 
houses for a jest, in order to be able to say : I am 
acquainted with Him. Men of good position were 
among those who hstened to H' words with the 
greatest attention, and then haggled with Him to 
see if the Kingdom of Heaven could not be had 
at a cheaper price than the world. He always 
answered: "What use is the world to you if you 
have no soul I Herein alone is the secret of salvation ; 
a man must find his soul and preserve it, and raise 
it to the Father." Or, as He put it differently : " God 
is to be found in the spirit ! " 

And when the stranger audience asked what " in 
the spirit " meant, the apostles explained : " He means 
spiritual 'ife. He would not have man live his life 
merely in the flesh ; man's real self. He teaches, is 
a spiritual reality, and the more a man works 
spiritually and lives in ideas which are not of the 
earth, the nearer he conies to God who is wholly spirit." 

" Tiien," said they, " men learned in the law are 
nearer to God than the workers in the field." To 
which John replied : " A man learned in the law who 
depends only on the letter is far from the spirit. The 
labourer who does not draw a profit from the land but 
thinks and imagines how to improve it, is near the 
spirit." 

On the road between Caedasa and Tyre is a farm. 
When its owner heard that the Prophet was in the 
neighbourhood, he sent out people to find Him and 
invite Him to go to the farm where He would be safe 
from the snares of the Pharisees. But the owner was 
himself a Pharisee and he intended . amine 
Jesus, perhaps to tempt Him to betray . -^.^elf and 
then deliver Him over to the government. Jesus told 
the me....,gcr that He would gladly accept the hospi- 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



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tahty if He might bring his compinions with Him. 
That was not In the Pharisee's plan, first, because of 
the quantity of food and drink so mai.y persons would 
need ; and second, because under such protection it 
would be difficult to lay hands on the demagogue. 
«ut in order to get the one, there was nothing for it 
but to include the others. They were respectfully 
received and entertained. The hos. testified to his 
joy at entertaining under his roof the " Saviour of 
Judjea," . was delighted with the Master's prin- 
ciples. He g-ve a great banquet in His honour with 
the choicest viands and costliest drinks to which the 
disciples, who were somewhat hungry and thirsty 
heartily did justice, while the Master, who never spoiled 
a glad hour, cheerfully did the same. When tongues 
were loosened, the host wanted straightway to begin 
with artful allusions and questions, but his guest was 
a match fc him. 

Jesus had observed that, while they were feeding 
so luxuriously ii the hall, needy folk were harshly 
turneo away in the courtyard, to slink oflT h-mgry 
and embittered. So He suddenly said that good 
stones suited goud wine, and He would tell ( le 
" That is d ^lightful 1 " exclaimed the host. And 
Jesus related the following: 

" There was once a rich man who wore the most 
costly garments, and enjoyed the most luxurious food 
and drink, and lived in complete contentment. One 
day there came to his door a sick, half-starved mai. who 
begged for a few of the crumbs that fell from the table. 
The prouc" man was wrathful that the miserable wretch 
should dare to disturb his pleasure, and let loose his 
hounds. But instead of worrying the man, the dogs 
licked his ulcers, and he crawled ashamed into a hole. 
On the very day on which the wretched creature died, 



OP THE CROSS 



201 



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death came also to the rich man, casting his well-fed 
body mto the grave and his soul into hell. And there 
his wretched soul endured most horrible torture, 
gnawing hunger and parching thirst, and the pain 
was increased when the dead man looked into 
Paradise and saw there the man he had sent away 
despised from his door sitting by Abraham. He 
saw how ripe fruits grew there, and clear springs 
gushed forth. Then he called up, • Father Abraham, 
I implore you, tell the man sitting by you to dip his 
finger-tips into the water and cool my tongue, for I 
suflTer unbearable torture.' To which Abraham an- 
swered, ' No, my son, that cannot be. Yoji received 
^n that was good on earth and forgot the poor, now 
he forgets you. There is no longer any connection 
between him and you.' Then the man in hell whim- 
pered, • Woe I woe I woe I Let my five brothers who 
still dwell on earth know that they must be merciful 
to the poor, so that they may not be in my case.' 
And Abraham said: 'They have the prophets 
on earth who tell them that every day.' Then the 
man whined : • Oh Father Abraham, they do not 
listen to the prophets. If only you would make one 
of the dead live again, that he might tell them how 
the unmerciful are punished, then they would believe' 
And Abraham : ' If they do not believe the living, how 
should they believe the dead ? '" 

During the Master's recital, the host several times 
stretched forth his hand to his glass, but each time 
drew It back again. He had not a word to say, and 
the desire to lay snares for the Prophet had gone. 
He stole unnoticed from the hall, went down to his 
steward, and ordered him henceforth never to send a 
needy man from the door unrefreshed. 
One of his friends who was at the banquet was 



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202 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

immensely pleased that this betrayer of the people 
should have so exposed himself. « You understood ? 
The story was nothing.but an attack on the possessors 
of property." ^ 

'• Let that be," said the host, and turned away. 

iT^HK ^^"V^"'^ ^"'"'"'^^^ *h^ P^^Phet and His 
little band with provisions, gave Him directions for 
His journey, and pointed out how He could best avoid 
pursuers He looked after them for a long time. 
1 hey have prophets on earth and do not heed them " 
He would like to accompany this prophet. His little 
soul had been caught by Him he had wished to catch. 
Ihings did not go so well with our fugitive in other 
places An evil slander about the Baptist was spread 
abroad-that he was a glutton and a wine-bibber ! 
Jesus heard of it. and said : "John the Baptist fasted. 
They said of him that he was possessed by a demon. 
It is neither eating nor fasting that they object to in 
the prophets, it is the truth which they speak." 

Then they came to villages and farms where they 

wished to rest, but none would give them shelter. 

This angered the Master. The dust on the ground 

was not worthy to remain sticking to the feet of those 

who came to bring the Kingdom of God. The heart- 

less would be thrust aside! But anger was turned 

into pitiful love. When a contrite man approached 

Him He raised him up with both arms, encouraged 

him, taught him to be kind, showed him the joy of 

life, and how to penetrate the sacred recesses of his 

own being— self-examination. 

Self-examination ! That is the everlasting guide 
Jesus gave to all who sought God. 



M . V 



CHAPTER XXIII 

At last Jesus and His followers reached the sea. 
When ,t lay before them in its immensity, and the 
white-wmged ships flew over the blue surface ; when 
hey saw m the far distance the line drawn between 
sky and water, and the firmament rising behind so 
darkly mysterious, their courage was renewed, and 

cZZlT^Z '^V^^y^^ouM sail across to the 
cheerful Greeks and the strong Romans. 

Why not to the savage Gauls and the terrible 
Germans?" exclaimed Bartholomew, with some ill! 
temper at such an adventurous spirit 

Jesus replied : "Seek your strength in your native 

and. Here m tlie land of tlie propliets grows the 

tree among the branches of which will dwell the bi ds 

of heaven Then the winds will come and carry the 

seeds out mto the whole world." 

The disciples who had not hitherto travelled much 

I Torid o"fT r"';'" ""^ '""'^'"' "' Ty- -d sidot; 

a world of folk and wares from every quarter of the 
earth, strange people and strange cusUs. xLey had 
never before seen men work with such industCin 
the warehouses on the wharves, on the ships fyet 

^ottin/haTf "rr'r "P '° ""«""'" ''■«-- 

trottmg half-naked along the beach, begging with 




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A PRISONER'S STORY 



loud pertinacity in the harbour, or shamelessly basking 
in the sun. Look I the lepers are limping about, 
complacently exhibiting their sores. One of the 
disciples looked questioningly at the Mastci wondering 
if He would heal them ? Then, perhaps, they would 
believe in Him. 

" You know quite well," He said reprovingly, " they 
would fain be healed and then believe, whereas I say 
they must believe in order to be healed." 

There were also to be seen in those towns nobles 
and kings from all lands surrounded by dazzling 
brilliance and gay trains ; as others here haggled for 
spices, silks, and furs, so they haggled for dignity and 
honour. And there were wise and learned men from 
among all peoples : they made speeches, and talked in 
the public places in praise of their native prophets 
and gods. The Hindoo praised his Brahma, the 
Magian shouted about sacred fire, the Semite spoke 
zealously for his Jehovah, the Egyptian sang the 
praises of his Osiris, the Greek extolled his Zeus, the 
Roman called on his Jupiter, and the German spoke 
m hoarse tones of his Wotan. Magicians and astro- 
logers were among them, and they boasted of their 
art and knowledge. Naked saints stood on blocks of 
stone, flies and wasps b .zzing round them, and still 
as statues they endured torments for the glory of their 
gods. The disciples of Jesus saw and heard all this 
in astonishment, and were terrified to find there were 
so many gods. When they were alone together with 
the Master in a cedar-grove near Sidon, one of them 
who had been deeply wrapt in thought said: "An 
idea has just occurred to me. Whether it be Brahma 
the reposeful, or Osiris the shining, or Jehovah the 
wrathful, or Zeus the loving, or Jupiter the struggling, 
or Wotan the conqueror, or our God the Father— it 



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occurs to me that it all comes to the same in the 
end." 

They were alarmed at this bold speech, and looked 
at the Master expecting an angry reproof. Jesus 
was silent for a while, then said calmly : " Do good 
to those who hate you." 

They scarcely understood that with these words 
He marked the incredible difference between His 
teaching and all other doctrines. 

They were still speaking when a young man with a 
beardles.^ ace and insolent expression came riding by 
on a tall steed. When he saw the group of Nazarenes 
he reined in his horse ; it would scarcely stop 
stamped with its legs on the ground, and threw its 
head snorting into the air. 

" Isn't this the man with the Kingdom of Heaven?" 
asked the rider contemptuously. 

James came quickly forward. "Sir, stop your 
mocking. How do you know that you will never 
need it?" 

"I?" said the arrogant cavalier. "I need a Kingdom 
of Heaven that is not to be seen, heard, or under- 
stood ! " 

" But felt, sir ! " 

" Then that is He," exclaimed the horseman, point- 
ing to Jesus. "No, Nazarenes, I do not believe in 
vour Heavenly Kingdom." 

_ To which Jesus replied : " Perhaps you will believe 
in My empty tomb." 

"We will see," said the cavalier, putting spurs to 
his horse so that it reared, and galloped off. Soon all 
that the disciples saw was a cloud of dust. Matthew 
looked searchingly at his comrades. "Did you 
recognise him? Wasn't it Saul, the dread weaver? 
They were saying in the town yesterday that he 




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206 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

was coming with a legion of soldiers to arrest the 
Nazarenes." 

Then they urged in terror : " Master, let us flee." 

He was not accustomed to flee before zealous 
Pharisees, but there was another reason for removing 
his innocent disciples from the atmosphere of these 
big c'ties. Simon was always suggesting that it 
would be no bad thing to spend the coming Passover 
on the Tiber, for he felt less afraid of the heathens 
in Rome than of the Jews in Jerusalem. He had no 
idea of what was before them. 

" Not in Rome," said Jesus, " but rather in Jerusalem 
will we eat the Paschal lamb." 

Soon after they wandered forth and left the noisy 
seaport behind them. As the roads became more 
and more unsafe, they climbed the rocks and took 
the way across the mountains. 

The gods came down from high Olympus, the Law 
came down from Sinai, Light came down from 
Lebanon. For it was at Lebanon that the great 
revelation came, which my shrinking soul is now to 
witness. 



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CHAPTER XXIV 

The following incident took place during the journey 
among the mountains of Lebanon. One day they 
were resting under an old weather-beaten cedar. The 
rain trickled through the bristling bush of needles 
from one branch to another on to the hats under the 
broad brims of which the men cowered, their legs 
drawn up under them, their arms crossed over their 
chests. Tired and somewhat out of humour, they 
looked out into the damp mist against which the near 
summits and masses of rock stood out. The hair and 
beards of the older men had turned gray, and even 
the faces of the younger seemed to have aged. For 
their hardships had been great. But the glow in 
their eyes was not quenched. They had laid aside 
their long staffs ; the sacks which some carried on their 
backs were wrinkled and empty. A little way off was 
a tree trunk, so big that three men could hardly have 
encompassed it; the bark was white and rough, so that 
It seemed as if spirits had carved mysterious signs 
thereon in pure silver. Jesus, a little apart from His 
disciples, was resting under this tree. He was as 
usual, without a hat, and His abundant nut-brown 
hair fel ove lis should:... His indescribably 
beautiful face paler than formerly. He leaned 

against the trunk of the tree and closed His eyes 

207 ' * 




11,1'=^' 




M 



208 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



.1 ) 



The disciples thought He slept, and in order not to 
wake Him they looked at one another and spoke in 
whispers. Their hearts were full of the impressions 
of their late experiences. They thought of the 
persecution in their native land, the attractiveness 
of the big world, and their ignorance of the future. 
Many of them during this gloomy rest-lime thought 
of their former lives. Who is managing my boat ? 
Who tends my fruit-trees? Who works in my 
workshop ? Who sits in the profitable toll-house ? 
Who is providing for my wife, my children ? There 
had been a triumphant progress through the land 
and then a flight. Men had not recognised the 
Master. If He would only say distinctly and clearly 
who He was I Meanwhile the outlook was desperate. 
As if they had run after a demagogue, a traitor, an 
anti-Jew I How could an anti-Jew be King of the 
Jews ? If He would only say who l^e was ! 

Snow lay on the mountains. The ice- wastes 
stretched down from the heights of Hermon. If our 
travellers looked up to their summits they saw the 
wild ruggedness of their covering ; if they looked 
downwards they saw abysses in which the water 
thundered. An eagle flew through the solitude 
and vultures screamed in the storm-beaten cedars. 
The men from the fertile plains of the Galilean Lake 
had never seen such wild nature. Simon was so 
enchanted that he wanted to build huts there for 
himself, his comrades, and the Prophet. The other 
disciples shuddered, a*- i would gladly have persuaded 
the Master to return. He pointed to the high moun- 
tains, and said : " What frightens you, My children ? 
When the races of men are becoming satiated and 
stupid, such wildness will refresh them " 

Simon and John nodded in agreement, but the 



ih' i. i 



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the 



?s 



OP THE CROSS 209 

others, as often was the case, did not understand what 
He-who spoke for all time-said. 

They wrapped themselves more dosely in their 
c oaks, embed up to where there was .^"^pl and 

anlrVu '^'rr^- "^""^ '^'»»'" walkedTfront 
and they followed Him through briars,and over stones 

IZ. ft T^- """'' "'^ ^"^ ■•°<^l<5 landing high 
above the cedar tops, they had to rest again. Some 

forth f ..'"atthew dipped into his sack and drew 
forth a small crust of bread, showed it to his com 
pamons, and said softly, so that the Master, who wTs" 
T2 7f ' T '"■^'^" "P' "■'8'" not hear: "xla 

:iw:!;ing"rmtt";:r.r "■^"" -'-" -- -- 

Then Simon said • "I rplvnr. h;«, u l 
f^ri m; 1 . rejyon Him who has so often 

fed His people in the desert " 

A:rw:^: jtr? -gZntdT r:^- "«» 

JnTsar^lJ-T-' "'" ^"'^ 0" CrXa^- 
and said : Brother, give that bread to the Master^ 

se.f?.Varu'rMa;irH:"„r '° ^^' ''"- 

Master, and gav'e ^.1,: br" d ' ""' ""^"' '° "^^ 
;; Have you already eaten ? " He asked. 
Master, we are all .satisfied " 
^^Jesus looked at him searchingly, and took the 

min " Th^' '".T'i" ^ "y °f ^^'''gh' broke from the 
men. ihemisthadsuddenlvliftprl.fi,. ""'tie 

far out into the sunny worW * AnHK' u T''* '^^ 

-.o^,de:-nir:frpSXihtfht 

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A PRISONER'S STORY 



lay a chain of villages, and then the sea, studded wi 
sails. The view was so extensive and so bright thi 
they could not btjt rejoice. 

"From over there beyond the water came tl 
heathens," said Matthew. 

"And over there will the Christians go," adde 
Simon. 

" Who are the Christians ? " asked Bartholomew. 
" The adherents of the Anointed." 
" They will go forth and destroy the Romans," sai 
James. 

" Ssh ! " they whispered, and laid their fingers o 
their lips. " He does not like such talk." 

He did not seem to have heard them. He ha 
risen and was looking out in silence. Then He turne 
to one and another to read in their faces how thei 
spirits stood, whether they had lost heart or whethe 
their courage was strengthened by the sight of th 
splendours of God by which they saw themselve 
surrounded. Simon had become very thoughtfu 
He pondered on the Master's words and on th 
miracle they had wrought in him. Of all the wisdon 
that he had ever heard, none was so lofty and clea 
as this divine teaching. It created a heaven whicl 
had not existed formerly. And yet I why was on( 
still so weak? He had turned sidewards anc 
thoughtfully nodded his head. 

" What trouble one has with his own people I " hi 
murmured. James laughed and said: "With you 
own people? Who are they? I see only one o 
your own people, and that is you yourself." 

" That's just the one who troubles me," said Simon 
" For, you know, the rascal is timid. I can't forge 
that. The suddenness overwhelms him. 'Twas sc 
for weeks down in Capernaum whenever the soldier; 



OP THE CROSS 211 

came near us, and in Sidon when that weaver sud- 
denly appeared. Oh, my friend and brorherT fi 

with Trn'r "' "'r? "■""■"« -"' -<" d'sg ace 
«ith H m, I am ready, I have courafre for that But 

me Can such a one be fit to go with the Master?" 
■■ t Z T,. "'■'""«"• no' heroes," assented James 
I do not know which needs more courage, a lifTof 
hardship or a swift death." 

J2rT r"''"' °f ""■"« '° y°"' '"•°"'e«." int-r- 

^tsfied r''"' ■■' '"" ""' *ver-but I'm not 
satisfied. Can any one tell me what will become 

Simon's attention was diverted. Brother PhiHn 
came up and plucked hm by the sleeve He cave 

"What is this? "he asked 

. But, said Matthew, "it is the piece of breaH I 
just gave the Master." ^ '"^^^'^ ' 

The piece of bread went round the circle from 
Matthew to the Master, from Him to John hen on 
from one to the other until it returned%o Matthel 
When they were amazed to find thaf nT 

••Nor t -r -t '"^ ^^^'" -Vc. and"°s;^3! 
T , ' *^°" ''''^ '° ^e miracles. Here is on^ 

that? "' ""' '° "^^'' Lo'd. The word did 

" No, friends, love did it " 

4t:dira:f3^aTk,s^t:itThen-r 

spread out below, soV summ t" of h Lul !^ 
were now revealed, the snow-peak.,, and iheXIdes 



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212 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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of rock, while the ice-fields were visible until r 
midnight. The deep stillness and the softnesj 
the air made the men dreamy. Some were incli 
to sleep. Others thought of what the future mi 
have m store for them, and thinking thereon suffe 
themselves to sink, untroubling, into the will of G 

All at once Jesus raised His head a little, and s 
softly so that those nearest Him heard it : " You h 
people talk about Me although thev are silent in ] 
presence. What do they say ? " 

The disciples were alarmed at the sudden questi 
and said : " People say all kinds of things." 

" What do they say about Me ? Whom do thev « 
I am ? " -^ ' 

Then one answered : " They all take you for soi 
one different. They prefer to believe in the m- 
••-'•ely things." 

But as He continued to look questioningly at the 
they became communicative and told : " One sa 
that you are the prophet Jeremiah ; another that y 
are Elijah of whom they know that he was taken 
to heaven in a fiery chariot. Or they say you are Jo! 
the Baptist whom Plerod caused to be murdered." 

Then Jesus lifted His head still higher and sai 
" People say that, do they ? But you, now ? Wl 
do you think I am ? " 

That came like a thunderbolt. They were i 
silent. Surely He could see that they had follow< 
Him, and knew why. Could He not see into tht 
thoughts? Had He suddenly begun to doubt the 
faith m Him ? Or had He lost faith in Himself? 
IS all so mysterious and terrifying. As they wei 
silent He went on to say : 

"You attached yourselves to Aq in innocci 
trustfulness, like men who spread their cloaks at M 



until near 
:)ftness in 
e inclined 
ire might 
n suffered 
1 of God. 
, and said 
You hear 
:nt in My 

question, 

they say 

for some 
;he most 

at them, 
!)ne says 
that you 
taken up 
are John 
;red." 
nd said : 
? Who 

^vere all 
followed 
ito their 
ibt their 
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nnoccnt 
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M 



OF THE CROSS 213 

feet and paid Me the honours of the MessiAh vvk 
Announced the Kingdom of God yo ' ^e" it^^M^^^ 

dange^uT a^d" Mv' ""^ '"^^"^^ ^^ ->' ^--e 
wItK KT . ^^ ^'^""'^ contemned, you sta^'ed 

r ™ Te'd" ''' ^'^''' ''^'^ not'rlZt 

hnl-i i^ • '^"^'"^ "°' '« ^vorldly power but to 
h m.I. ,on. you still stayed with Me. 'olio vcd Me 

h rs/lvCr/'^h'^^'r"' ^"' '"*° ''^ ^'--t 
to Me?" • '^'"' '''"' >'°" '•^'"^•■n '-aithful 

there t' 'Itol"^"''" Tu '° ^"^•'^^' ^"* ^ «hall find 

AlT^hTa r^^h^M^w-,^^ ''-' ""^ '^^' ••" P-- 
; Shall go alo:: tXd'Tn'r;^^^^ 

be in theirVower ] T'^^"'"' ^"^ ^^ ^-'^ ^vill 

and a contfrnpt 'ble d a L'^haf "n T' '^'^'''^ 
•short time. Vv'ill yo'^tln stly' it^L^^'^^;r ^ 
Js your trust denVeH ? wu . Whence 

J usL aerived ? Who do you think I nm p » 

The men's evos w- h" i f ^''J' S™"- bright? 
oWiged to shade them wUh tt T ^ "-^^ '^"'= 

to be bh-nded aT ^ ' '"'"''' '" '"•'^e'- not 

"= uimaeu. A sound came out nf ti,,. i- u. 

voice was heard : " He is mI « , ,, ''^'''' ^ 

ne IS My Son! He is My 



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214 



A PRISONERS STORY 



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beloved Son ! " They were beside themselves, th< 
bodies were lifeless, for their souls were in the heigh 
Then Jesus came down to them out of the ligl 
His countenance had a strange look ; something extr 
ordinary had passed over Him. With outstretch* 
arms He ame slowly towards the disciples : " Simoi 
Did you say that of yourself? It was surely { 
inspiration from above. Such a faith is the fou 
dation of the Kingdom of God ; henceforth, the 
you shall be named Peter, the rock. I will four 
My community upon you, and what you do on ean 
in My name will hold good in heaven above." 

Simon looked round him. What ? he thought 
the secret recesses of his heart, am I raised above tl 
others? Are none of the brothers equal to mc 
That is because I am humble. Jesus turned to thei 
all, and said : " Prepare yourselves, be strong ; ev 
times are approaching. They will kill Me." 

As He said that, Simon Peter grasped His an 
with both his hands, and exclaimed passionately 
" In the name of God, Master, that shall not happen 

Upon which Jesus said quickly and severely : " G( 
behind Me, Satan ! " 

They looked round them. What a sudden change 
For whom were the hard words meant? Simo 
knew ; he went down and hid himself behind th 
young cedars. There he wept and shook with grie 

" John, He hates me ! " muttered the disciple, an 
hid his face in his young companion's gown, for Joh 
had gone to comfort him. " John ! It was my prid( 
He sees our thoughts. He hates me ! " 

"No, Simon, He does not hate you. He loves yoi 
Think of what He said to you just before. Tha 
about the rock. You know what Jesus is. Yoi 
know how He has to pour cold water so that the fin 



I III 



OF THE CROSS 



215 



of iove may not consume Him. And you must have 
touched on somethinjr that He Himself finds difficult. 
I m sure of it. I believe that He is suffering some- 
thing that we know nothing about. It is as though 
He saw it was the Father's will that He should suffer 
and die. He is young, He feels dismayed, and then 
you come and make the struggle harder for Him. 
Stand up, brother ; we must be strong and cheerful 
and a support to Him." 

And when they gathered together, prepared for 
further journeying, Jesus looked round the circle of 
His faithful adherents, and said, with solemn serious- 
ncss : " In a short time you will see Me no more. I 
go to the Father. I build My kingdom upon your 
faith, firm as rock, and give you all the keys of 
heaven. With God, heaven and earth are one, and 
everything you do on earth is also done in heaven." 

Ihat is what happened on one of the hcignts of 
Lebanon when Jesus rested there with His disciples 
And then He went again to His native place, not 
to stay there, but to see it once more. After days of 
hardships which they scarcely felt, and of want which 
they never perceived, they came down into the fertile 
plains, and the soft air was filled with scent of roses and 
of almond blossoms. They found themselves once 
again in their native land, where they were treated 
with such contempt that they had to avoid the high 
roads and take the side paths. When they were 
passing through a ravine near Nazareth, they stopped 
under the scanty shade of some olive-trees. Thev 
were tired, and lay down under the trees. Jesus 
went on a little further, where He could obtain a 
vievv of the place. He sat down on a stone, leaned His 
head on His hand, and looked thoughtfully out over 
the country. Something strange and hostile seemed 



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216 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



to pervade it. But He had not come in anger. 
Something else remained to be done. It was clear 
to Him that He Himself must be the pledge of the 
truth of His good tidings. 

A woman came toiling over the stones. It was 
His mother. She had heard how He had come 
down from the mountains with His disciples, and 
thought she would go through the ravine. Now she 
stood before Him. Her face, grown thin with grief, 
was in the shade, since to protect herself from the 
sun she had thrown her long upper garment over her 
head. A tress of her dark hair fell over one cheek ; 
she pushed it back with one finger, but it always 
feel down again. She looked shyly at her son, who 
was resting on a stone. She hesitated to speak to 
Him. She advanced a step nearer, and as if nothing 
had ever separated them, said : " Your house is quite 
near, my child. Why rest here in such discomfort ? " 

He looked at her calmly. Then He answered : 
" Woman, I would be alone." 

She gently answered : " I am quite alone now in 
the house." 

" Where are our relations ? " 

" They wished to fetch you home, and have been 
away for weeks in search of you." 

Jesus pointed with a motion of His hand to His 
sleeping disciples: "They did not seek Me for 
weeks, they found Me the first day." 

As if she wished to prevent Him complaining 
again that His kinsmen did not understand Him, 
His mother said : " People have long been annoyed 
that work was no longer done in our workshop, and 
so they go to a new one which has been set up in our 
street." 

" Where is Aaron, the apprentice ? " 



m r ! 



OF THE CROSS 



217 



She replied : " It is not surprising that no one will 
stay if the children of the ho se depart." 

He spoke excitedly: 1 tell yn, woman, spare 
Me your reproaches ar d domestic cares. I have 
something else to do." 

Then she turned to the rocky waii to hide her sobs. 
After a while she said softly : " How can you be so 
cruel to your mother! It's not for myself I com- 
plain ; you may well believe. AH is over for me 
in this world. But you! You bring misfortune 
on the whole family, and will yourself destroy 
everything. By your departed father, by your 
unhappy mother, I implore you to let the faith 
of your fathers alone. I know you mean well, but 
others do not understand that, and nothing you do 
will avail. Let people be happy in their own way. 
If formeriy they went to Abraham, they will continue 
to find their way to him without your help. Don't 
interfere with the Rabbis; that never pays. Think 
of John the Baptist ! Every one is saying that 
they are lying in wait for you. Oh, my beloved 
child, they will disgrace you, and kill you ! " She 
clutched the rock convulsively with her fingers, and 
could say no more for bitter weeping. 

Jesus turned His head to her, and looked at her. 
And when her whole body shook with sobs, He rose 
and went to her. He took her head in both His 
hands and drew it towards Him. 

" Mother ! mother !— mother ! " His voice was dull 
and broken: "You think I do not love you. I 
am sometimes obliged to be thus harsh, for every- 
thing is against Me, even My own kith and kin. 
But I must fulfil the will of the Heavenly Father. 
Dry your tears ; see, I love you, more than any human 
heart can understand. Because the mother suffers 



:, 







m 



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i 



218 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



double what the child suffers, so is your pain greater 
than that of Him who must sacrifice Himself for 
many. Mother ! Sit down on this stone so that I 
may once again lay My head in your lap. It is My 
last rest." ^ 

. ^? i^fx ^^^^ "^^ ^^^^ °" ^^^ '^•"ees, and she 
stroked His long hair tenderly. She was so happy 
m the midst of her grief, so absolutely happy, 
that He should lie on her breast as He did when 
a child. 

But He went on speaking gently and softly • " I 
have preached to the people in vain about faith in 
Me. I need not preach to you, for a mother believes 
in her child. They will all testify against Me. 
Mother, do not believe them. Believe your child 
And when the hour comes for Me to appear with 
outstretched arms, not on earth and not in heaven 
believe then in your child. Be sure then that your 
carpenter has built the Kingdom of God. No, mother 
do not weep ; look up with bright eyes. Your day 
will be everlasting. The poor, those forsaken by every 
heaven, will pour out their woes to you, the blessed 
the rich in grace ! All the races of the earth will 
praise you ! " He kissed her hair. He kissed her eyes 
and sobbed Himself " And now go, mother. My 
friends are waking. They must not see Me cast 
down." 

He arose from this sweet rest. The disciples raised 
their heads one after another. 

" Did you get some rest. Master ? " asked Simon. 

He answered : " Better rest than you had." 

A messenger who had been sent out returned with 
a basket, and they paid him with a little gold ring, 
the last to be found on the fingers of the wanderers! 
They ate, and rejoiced over God's beautiful world and 



111. 



OF THE CROSS 



219 



its gifts, and then prepared for further wanderings. 
Whu.ier? Towards the metropolis. 

Mary stood behind the rocks and gazed after Him 
as long as He was visible in the haze of the Galilean 



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CHAPTER XXV 

And so they made their way towards Jerusalem for 
the ce ebratmn of the Passover. Long ago Moses 
had dehvered the Jews from bondage in Egypt and 
led them back to their native land. InTatcfui 
remembrance many thousands assembled every year 
at Jerusalem at the time of the first full moon of 
spnng, made a pilgrimage to the Temple, and 
accordmg to the ancient custom, ate of thi pkschal 
lamb with b.tter herbs and bread made without 
yeast, as once they ate manna in the wilderness At 
such an assembly there was of course much com- 
merce and trafficking as well as every sort of amuse- 
ment and show. The execution of criminals took 
place at that time, so that people were sure of one 

tT/p Ki!-^''''f i" accordance with the words of 
the Rabbis ,n the Temple who said : He who breaks 
the Law shall be punished according to the Law 

r^'Z i^°TK i^^ ^° '^^ '^'^ ^ ^^'"S once." said the 
d scple Thaddeus to his comrades as they went 
along. 1 mean such a punishment." 

"You'll easily find an opportunity in Jerusalem," 
replied Andrew ; and added with light mockery. '« to 
see criminals impaled is the correct merry-making 
for poor men. It costs nothing. And yet I do not 
know a costlier pleasure." 



A PRISONERS STORY OF THE CROSS 221 

to W.'' '^' '""^"''"^ ''°""'" "^'^^^^^"-^ ^^"ted 
_' That's easily described." Matthew informed '.hem. 
Ihink of an upright post planted in the earth 
and a cross-beam near the top. The poor sinner is 
bound naked to it. his arms stretched out. When he 
has hung there in the people's eyes for a while they 
break his legs with a club. For very serious crimes 
loTnli"^""^^ '^^^^" ^^^ ^-^^ ^° the post with 

Thaddeus turned aside in horror. " May it never 
be my lot to look on at such a thing " 

"Do not imagine that such talk is a jest" said 
another. "Every one implores God that su h a doom 
n ay never befall any of his relations or friends, w" 
are all poor smners. When our Master establishes 
His Kmgdom this horrible mode of death wil be 
abolished. Don't you think so?" ^^" ^viu be 

"Then all modes of death will be abolished" said 

e'rim!?' "^^->^--^-pwhenHesptknf 

"But He says Himself that they will slay Him " 

wait till h"^ ""\^° ^^^^ «- "'^ -eans Just 
wait til He once shows them His power »" 

So they often talked together, half in pleasantry 
half in simplicity, but always behind the Ma terTbacT 

A change had come over Jesus sinre fh. f 

the high mountain. It was as f He h.V T'" °" 
quite clear about His dTvTne Vail L ff H^'^^rT 
fully realised that He was Cn^. ^^ °"^>' 

Srnit" tf T'-'^ ^^s-:::r%:^ 

that the power of Gn : h^ri u "® ^^^^ 

souls Th. r ^° \''^^ ^ee" g'ven Him to jud-e 
souls. The devils fled before Him, He was subject 



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222 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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to no human power. He broke with the history of 
His degraded people; He annulled the ancient 
writings, falsified by priejts and learned men. He 
recognised that in His unity with the Heavenly 
Father and Eternal God, He was Lord of all power 
in heaven and on earth. 

So it was with Him since that hour of light on the 
mountain. But the knowledge of all this made Him 
still more humble as a man on whom such an immense 
burden had been laid, and still more loving towards 
those who were sunken in measureless poverty, dis- 
tress and subjection, resigned to their fate of being 
lost in blindness and defiance, and yet full of wistful 
longing for salvation. 

The relations between Him and His disciples had 
also changed since that day. Formerly, although 
they had treated Him with respect they had always 
been on familiar terms with Him. Now they were 
more submissive, more silent, and their respect had 
become reverence. With some, love had almost 
become worship. And yet they always fell back 
into unruliness and timidity. There was one es- 
pecially who disagreed with much. When, in 
order to avoid the high roads, they went through the 
barren district on the other side of Jordan, and 
endured all sorts of hardships and privations, the 
disciple Judas could not forbear uttering his 
thoughts. He had nothing to do now as treasurer 
of the little band, so he had plenty of time to spread 
discouragement behind the Master's back. Why 
should not the Messiah's train of followers appear 
in fitting brilliance ? He explained what Jesus taught 
about death as implying that when the beggar prophet 
died, the glorious Messiah would appear! But why 
first in Jerusalem? Why should they not assume 



laR 



OF THE CROSS 



223 



their high position in the interval ; why were the 
honours of tiie new era not already allotted? 

Jesus' popularity had increased once more, and 
in the more thickly inhabited districts the people 
hurried together. "The Prophet is passing through I" 
They streamed forth bringing provisions with them, 
and the sick and crippled came imploring Him to 
heal them. He accepted enough to meet His imme- 
diate needs from the store that was offered Him, 
but He did not work the desired miracles. He 
forbade His disciples even to speak of them. He was 
angry with the crowd who would not believe without 
miracles, and would not understand the signs of the 
times. " Directly they see a cloud rise in the west 
they say : It's going to rain. If a south wind blows 
they know that it is going to be hot. But they do not 
understand the signs of a new world uprising. If they 
cannot understand the spiritual tokens, they cannot 
have others. They would fain see the si^n of Jonah 
who lay three days in the whale's belly? Be it so' 
They shall see how the Son of Man, after being 
buried for three days, shall live again." 

Judas shook his head over such talk. " That doesn't 
help much." But the others, especially John. James 
and Simon, did not think about the kingdom of the 
Messiah or about earthly power; their hearts were 
filled With love for the Master. Yet they, too, had their 
own temptations. They often talked together of that 
other world where Jesus would be Eternal King, and 
vvh.rethey-they who firmly adhered to Him-would 
share His glory. And in all seriousness they dreamed 
of the offices and honours that would be theirs, and 
actually disputed who among them would hold the 
highest rank Each boasted of his own achievements 
James had brought Him the most friends in Galilee" 



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224 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



Simon rested his claim on the fact that he had beei 
the first to recognise in Him the Son of God. Johi 
reminded them that he came from the same plac< 
and had once worked with Him as carpenter' 
apprentice. John might have said that the Maste 
was especially fond of him, but he did not say sc 
Simon, on the contrary, put forward most emphati 
cally the fact that the Master had called him the rod 
on which He should found His community. 

When Jesus noticed how they were disputing H^ 
went to them and asked what they were discussini 
so eagerly. 

" Master," said James boldly, " you come to us a 
if we had called you. We want to know who amon| 
your disciples will be first in the Eternal Kingdom 
See, brother John and I would like to be nea'-est yot 
one on your right hand, the other on your lefl 
so that we may have you between us then as wi 
have you now." 

Upon which Jesus said: "This is not the first tim 
that you have talked thus foolishly. You don't knov 
what you want. I tell you, when you have don 
what I do, and have suffered what I shall suffo 
then you may come and ask." 

They replied : " Lord, we will do what you do am 
suffer what you suffer." 

These resolute words pleased Him, and He sai< 
nothing of the enormous distance between Him an* 
them. They were too simple to understand that 
He only said : "Leave that to Him who will shov 
you your place. For every ruler has rulers over him 
One alone has no authority above Him. Consider : I 
a servant has worked hard and faithfully, he will no 
therefore in the evening sit at the upper end of th 
table and begin to eat before his master, but he wil 



OF THE CROSS 



225 



and 



fi it prepare his master's food, and place a footstool 
under his feet. And so it is with you. Whoso would 
be greatest must serve the others. I, too, have come 
not to be ministered to but to minister, and to sacrifice 
Myself for others and ti gtvo My life a ransom for 
many. 

It alarmed them that He should speak more 
and more often of giving up His life. What did it 
mean ? If He perished Himself how could He save 
others? That might occur in saving people from fire 
or from drowning, but how could a man free a people 
and lead it to God by sacrificing his life ? True, the 
heathens had their human sacrifices. Judas had his 
own Ideas about the matter. The Master was de- 
pressed by failure, or He merely wished to test His 
adherents, to find out if they had strength enough to 
follow Him through thick and thin. If only He could 
be entirely sure of that, then He would hasten like 
the lightnings of heaven to annihilate the enemy and 
glorify H,s own adherents. If, as He Himself had 
said, faith was so strong that it could remove moun- 
tains, ,t would be quite easy for Him to show His 
power at the propitious moment. 

This firm belief of Judas made the disciple Thomas 
remember the Master's actual words about faUh 

that happens, for him it will happen. Mark,>^ Aim 

It will happen. Whether others who do notCheve 
wi see the mo ta ^^^^ .^^^ ^^^^^^ ^^^.^ b^l eve 

think .V ''\" ^^"^'''" ^^'^ Bartholomew, "you 

onW fo?'h^' '^t' ^u'?P'" '^^°"S^ ^^^^ happen 
only for him who believes. They form only an 

he sees them happen with his spiritual eye. But 

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A PRISONER'S STORY 



they are not real for others. If that's the case, r 
friend, we should be lost. Jesus may believe that t 
enemy fall, Jesus may see them fall ; all the sar 
they still live and live to destroy us." 

" That is cheap logic," said the resolute Jud; 
"Every one has seen how He made the lame 
walk and the dead to live ; even those who did n 
believe. Take heed! If only the Master wou 
make some outward demonstration of His pow 
you sh'>uld see what He could do." 

Others were of that opinion, so they followed 
followed their Messiah. 

But during their long wandering over the b 
roads of the desert and /er the fertile piains th 
suffered continual distiv' .. Although they h 
now been some time in the plains they were n 
always in good humour. They saw how t 
Master renounced the power and pleasure of t 
world and yet walked the earth strong and che< 
ful. It was only later that they understood how t 
two things could be reconciled. He enjoyed wl: 
was harmless if it did not hurt others, but I 
attached little value to it. His bodily senses were 
He needed to recognise the Father's power in natu 
and to be happy in that knowledge. He did not de 
the world ; He spiritualised it and made it divii 
The things of earth were to Him the building-stones 1 
the Kingdom of Heaven. So, in spite of increasi 
doubt, the disciples always found that things car 
right, and they, too, determined to despise the woi 
and to love their simple life. 

One day they came to a place in which there w 
great activity. Men were ploughing ii the fiel< 
hammering in the workshops, lithe carmen and sl( 
camel-drivers were driving hard bargains. And 



\m 



OF THE CROSS 



case, my 

that the 

he same 

e Judas, 
lame to 
did not 
r would 
s power 

llowed — 

the bad 
ins they 
ley had 
vere not 
low the 
2 of the 
d cheer- 
how the 
ed what 
but He 
were all 
n nature, 
not deny 
t divine, 
tones for 
icreasing 
gs came 
he world 

here vva.T 

le fields, 

md slow 

And it 



227 



was the Sabbath ! "Did heathens dwell here?" the 
disciples asked. No ; it was a Jewish village, and 
the inhabitants were so pious that they seldom let 
a Passover go by without going up to Jerusalem. 
Many years ago they had heard a young man speak 
words in the Temple which they had never forgotten. 

Men should work on the Sabbath if it was for the 
good of their fellows." the young man had preached 
with great impressiveness. Now, it is generally ad- 
mttod that all work is for the good of the individual 
and also of the community. So they began there and 
then, and had never since stopped working for a single 
cla>'. 1 he result was great local prosperity. 

When Jesus saw how His words at Jerusalem on 
that occasion had been so utterly misunderstood or 
were misapplied through a desire for gain. He was 
filled with indignation, and began to sp.ak in the 
mark"^ ^lace • " I tell you the Kingdom of God will be 
taken . .ni these lovers of gain and given to a people 
more worthy of it. For the good of one's fellow men ? 
Does good depend on the property a man possesses? 
Property ,s harmful to men ; it hardens their hearts 
and makes them continually fearful of loss and death.' 
And you call that good ! There was once a rich man 
who afer years of toiling and moiling had his barns 
full, and thought : Now I can rest and enjoy life. Bu 
K- n ul^' ^" ^'^^' ^"^ '^' property to gain 

W to th '' 'u'''''' """"'y ^"^ -^ he had " 
^eave to those who quarrelled and disputed over it 

and mocked at him. I tell you, if you gain the 

wnoe word and lose your soul-all is lost " 

When He had so spoken a very old man came up 

to Him and said : "Rabbi, you are poor, and hi? 

tTft f" I' ''^'- ^'°" '" "^^ '^-^ how difficu 
«t IS for a nch man to cease adding to his wealth 




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228 



A PRISONERS STORY 



Oh, the dch'ghtful time I had when I was poor ! Then 
I began to get money unawares, was glad of it, and 
began to fear I might lose it And then as the needs 
of my family increased more quickly than my means, 
I thought my money was not sufficient, and the more 
one had the more one required. I am now an old 
man, I possess thirty sacks full of gold, and I know 
that I cannot enjoy my wealth any more. But I 
cannot stop gaining and amassing. I could sooner 
stop breathing." 

Jesus told the old man a little story : " Some 
children by the roadside attacked a strange boy for 
the sake of some broken potsherds which they were 
collecting. But when they had got a great heap 
together the roadman came along, and with his spade 
threw the pieces into the gutter. The children raised 
a great cry. But the man saw that there was blood 
on some of the fragments, and asked : • Where did 
you get these from ? ' Whereupon the children grew 
pale with terror, and the man took them off to the 
magistrate." 

The old man understood. He went away and 
compensated all who had come to harm through him, 
and then on his way home he started once more to 
amass treasure ! 

The next day Jesus and His followers reached 
another village. There all was quiet, and the in- 
habitants lay under the fig-trees although it was not 
the Sabbath. Then Jesus asked : " Why do they not 
work?" 

And one of the villagers said : " We should like to 
work, but we have no tools. We want spades, ploughs, 
sickles, and axes, but our smith is always making 
holiday. And it is just he who makes the best 
knives. There are no other smiths here." 



!l 



OF THE CROSS 



239 



Our wanderers then went to the smith. The man 
was sitting in his room, reading the Holy Scriptures 
and praying. One of the disciples asked him why 
he was rnt at work although it was a week-day. 

The smith replied : " Since I heard the Prophet it 
is always Sabbath with me. For a man should not 
strive after material property, neither should he take 
any care for the morrow, but seek the Kingdom of 
Heaven." 

Then Jesus went to the entrance of the house, and 
told, so that the smith could hear Him, of the man 
who made a journey. " Before he departed he called 
his servants together and gave them money with 
which to carry on the work of the house. He gave 
the first five heavy pieces of gold, the second two, and 
the third one. They were to keep house according 
to their own discretion. When after a long time the 
master returned, he desired his servants to account 
for the way in which they had employed the money 
The first had increased it tenfold. ' I am glad,' said 
the master, ' and because you are faithful in little I 
will trust you much— keep the gold.' The second 
servant had increased the money twofold ; the master 
praised him also, and gave him both principal and 
mterest. Then he asked the third servant what he 
had done with his money. 'Master,' replied the 
man, 'it wasn't much to begin with, so I wouldn't 
risk losing it. I should have liked to gain a second 
gold piece, but I might have lost the first. So I did 
not use it for the housekeeping, but buried it in a safe 
place, so that I could faithfully return it to you ' 
Then the master snatched the gold piece from him 
and gave it to the fellow who had increased his 
money tenfold. 'The little that he has shall be 
taken away from the lazy and unprofitable servant 



230 



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A PRISONERS STORY 




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and given to him who knows how to value what 
he has.' " 

" Do you understand ? " Matthew asked the smith. 
"The gold pieces are the talents which God gives 
men— to some more, to others less. Whoso lets his 
talents lie fallow, and does not use them, is like the 
man who has strength and skill to work the iron, but 
who lays the hammer aside to brood idly over 
writings he cannot understand." 

" How is it then," said some one, " fault is found 
with him who works, and likewise with him who 
doesn't w6rk?" 

Matthew tapped the speaker on the shoulder : 
'My friend! Everything at the right time! the 
point is to do that for which you have a talent, not to 
yearn after things for which you have no talent what- 
soever," 

The smith laid aside his book and his phylacteries 
and grasped his hammer. 

Then a man came by who complained that the new 
teaching was worthless. He had followed it, had 
given away all his possessions because they brought 
him care. But since he had become poor, he had had 
still more care. So now he should begin to earn 
again. 

" Do so," said James the younger, " but take care 
that your heart is not so much in it that your 
possessions possess you ! " 

And others came : " Sir, I am a ship's carpenter ! 
Sir, I am a goldsmith! Sir, I am a stone-cutter! 
Are we not to put our whole heart into our work so 
as to produce something worthy. If our heart is not 
in it we cannot do good work." ^ 

•' Of course," said the disciple, " you must exert 
your whole strength and talent in order to produce 



OF THE CROSS 



231 






worthy work. But not for the sake of the work or 
the praise, but for the sake of God and the men 
whom you serve. And rejoice from your hearts that 
God creates His works through you." 

A rustic once came to James and discussed prayer. 
The Master said you should pray in few words and 
not, as the heathens do, in a great many words, for the 
Father knows our needs. Well, he had once prayed 
just in that way, using few words, but his prayer had 
not been heard. 

Then James said : " Don't you remember what the 
Master said of the man to whose door a friend came 
in the night and begged for bread ? He had gone to 
bed, took no heed of his friend's knocking, and at 
length called out : ' Go away and let me sleep.' But 
the friend continued to knock and to complain that 
he needed bread, and began noisily to shake the door. 
That lasted until the man in bed could endure it no 
longer. Out of temper, he got up, took some bread 
and gave it to his friend through the window. He 
did not give it him out of love, but only to be rid 
of him. The Master meant that with perseverance 
much might be attained by prayer." 

The man was irritated by the disciple's explanation 
and said : " What I One time He says. Pray shortly 
using few words ; and at another time. You must not 
leave off praying until you are heard." 

But James replied: "Friend, you misunderstand 
me again. Did He say, You shall pray little? No • 
He said, You shall pray in few words ; but without 
ceasing, and with your whole heart, and with faith 
that the Father will at length hear you. And the 
longer He keeps you waiting for His help, the greater 
must be your faith that He knows why He keens 
you waiting, and at last He will give you more than 



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232 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



you asked for. If that man gave the bread in order 
to be rid of the annoyance, how much more will 
the Father give the child whom He loves?" 

To which the man replied : « Well, I did pray 
thus, I kept on and I believed, and yet I was not 
heard." 

" What did you pray for?" 

" For this," said the rustic, "I have a neighbour who 
steals the figs from my tree, and I can't catch him at 
it. So I prayed that he might fall from the tree and 
break his legs. But I was not heard." 

James was obliged to laugh aloud over the foolish 
fellow who prayed to the merciful Father for 
vengeance. 

" Pray for strength to pardon your neighbour and 
give him the figs which he seems to need more than 
you, and you will certainly be heard." 

" And," continued the disciple, "if it is a question 
of praying without ceasing, that does not mean you 
are always to be folding your hands and uttering pious 
words ; it is rather to direct one's thoughts continually 
with longing to the dwelling of God and things eternal, 
and to measure everything in life, small things as well 
as great, by that standard, in reverence and faith." 

A noisy fellow asked : " How can I measure the 
com I have to sell by that standard ? " 

" If you refrain from taking advantage of the buyer 
with mixed, damp grain, but give him good stuff, 
then you are doing God's will, and are not harming 
your immortal soul by deceit, then your corn and 
your method of acting are measured by the standard 
of God and Eternity." 

" But see," exclaimed another, " my business friend 
gave me bad measure when he sold me oil, and gave 
me half water. And it stands in the Scriptures 



OF THE CROSS 



233 



As it is measured to you, so shall you measure it 
again." 

As they walked on Jesus shook His head. To 
thmk that His simple teaching could meet with so 
much misunderstanding, especially among those 
wanting in will towards it, those who could think 
of nothing but their desires and bodily comforts! 
" No," he exclaimed sorrowfully, " they do not under- 
stand the word. They must have an illustration that 
they can see and feel, an illustration they will never 
forget" 






/I 



CHAPTER XXVI 



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Gradually they were reaching the end of their 
journey. They met with no persecution during this 
last stre+ch. Indeed, they rather saw how some of the 
seeds, a mough mingled with weeds, had taken root. 
They reached the last hills after a night in which they 
had encamped under sycamore and fig trees. Jesus 
was walking in front. Although He was exhausted 
with the long wandering, and His feet almost refused 
their office, He still walked on ahead. The disciples 
came behind, and when they reached the top of the hill 
they gave a great cry. There opposite them on the 
tableland of the other hill lay the metropolis ! In 
the morning sun it looked as if built of burnished 
gold, Solomon's Temple with its innumerable pin- 
nacles overtopping everything. 

Several of the disciples had never before been to 
Jerusalem, and a feeling of inspired reverence came 
over them at the sight of the Holy City of the kings 
and prophets. Here — so thought Judas and many 
another — here will the glory begin for us. They sat 
down under the olive-trees to rest and to put their 
clothes in order, while some even anointed their hair. 
Then they ate figs and the fruit of the currant 
bushes. But they were anxious about the Master. 
The exertions of the last few weeks had told on Him, 
and His feet were very sore. But He said nothing. 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 235 

The disciples agreed that they could not let this 
go on any longer. James went down the slope to 
where he saw some cottages, and asked if any one 
had a ridmg horse or at least a camel on which a 
traveller could ride into the town. They would like 
to borrow it. 

A little, bent old man sidled up to the stranger and 
assured him with much eloquence that neither horse 
nor camel was to be had, but that there was an ass. 
Yet that ass was not to be had either. 

Could the Messiah make His entry on an ass? 
No, we could not begin like that. Such was the 
disciple's first thought. Then it occurred to him 
that ancient prophets had foretold : He would make 
His entry on an ass. Whereupon James declared 
himself willing to take the ass. 

" You may want him and I mayn't give him," said 
the old man with a cunning laugh. " If anything 
happened to this animal I should never get over it. 
It IS no ordinary ass, my friend ! " 

" It is no ordinary rider who needs him," said 
James. 

The little, old man took the disciple to the stable. 
1 he animal stood by the manger, and was certainly 
of a good breed. It was not gray, but rather bright 
brown and smooth, with slender legs, pretty, sharp- 
pointed ears, and long whiskers round its big, intel- 
ligent eyes. 

"Isn't it the colour of a thoroughbred Arab?" 
said the old man. 

" It's a beautiful creature," assented James " Will 
you lend it for a silver piece and much honour? It 
can easily be back by noon." 

To which the little, old man replied : « It stands to 
reason that we can make something out of it during 



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A PRISONER'S STORY 



this time of visitors. Let us make it two silve 
pieces." 

" One silver piece and honour ! " 

" Let us make it two silver pieces without honour.' 
haggled the h'ttle, old man. "A steed for princes. 1 
tell you. In the whole of Jud^a you won't find such 
another beauty! It is of noble descent, you must 
know. 

"We can dispense with that honour." said James, 
if only It do^s not stumble." 

Then the old man related how in the year of 
Herod s massacre of the innocents— "a little over 
thirty years ago. I think-you must know that the 
Infant Messiah lay in a stable at Bethlehem with 
the ox and the ass. The child rode away into foreign 
lands, as far as Egypt, they say, on that very ass. 
Av-i this ass is descended from that one." 

If that's so." said James brightly, "it's a marvel- 
lous coincidence ! " And he whispered softly in the 
old man's ear: "The man who will enter Jerusalem 
to-day on that ass is the Messiah who was born in 
the stable." 

"Is it Jesus of Nazareth?" asked the old man. 

I will hire the animal to him for half a silver piece 
In return I shall implore Him to heal my wife, who 
has been rheumatic for years." 

So they made their compact, and James led the ass 
up the mountain where they were all sitting together 
unable to gaze long enough at Jerusalem. Only 
Jesus was wrapt in thought and looked gloomily at 
the shining town. 

" Oh, Jerusalem I " He said softly to Himself. « If 
only thou would'st heed this hour. If thou wouldst 
recognise wherein lies thy salvation. But thou 
dost not recognise it, and I foresee the day when 



OF THE CROSS 237 

cruel enemies will pull down thy walls so that not one 
stone remains upon another " 

m£?^"/•^'l'"'' ''°^'' °" 'hi animal, and Jesus 

Vvi^."„^h"'*" t". ^f '^"'■'""^'y ""'"g happened. 
VVhen they reached the valley of Kedron where the 
roads cross people hurried up shouting : " The Kinc 
.3 commg ! The Son of David is coming! " Soon 
o hers ran out of the farms and the gardens, and kept 

is thf M *l"; V"' "^Seof the road, shouting: "I 
■s the Messiah ! God be praised. He has come I" 

arrVv!l°"^ T 7''° '^ 'P™^'^ ""e news of His 

awl& '^."^J"^'- " <=a"ght on like wildfire, 
jTutrLnr. .r'""'""" ^^-y^he'-e- When 
that th. ^ ° ,*^ '°™' '"« """"i «»» » great 
Iter H. ^^^ ""'^. °"'y P"^'' ^'""'y along, and 
sauare? ""I P"''"^ *« '°™ g^e the streets and 
XT r r"'"* ^*'"'y ""'«'■" ">« people- The 

fmrH '^^ ""^ Nazareth had come ! Strangers 

Him t T""?' '"'° ''="' ^'"'"'y ^" and hfard 
Hm, „ other places, pressed forward. Now that 

c^v of Tif m' "'T°P°"' "'* head erect and the 
scorned tL"'''r "'-''^"^ ""^ ^■'' P«°P'- "ho had 

k-aSed of "?"■ "^"^'"^^ ""'^ P™"d of Hi™ and 
pasted of meetmgs with Him, of His acquaintance 
Hands were stretched out to Him. Many cast the.V 

Z^TuT '"^.r,""" "" '"^ -' toste^on They 
fund 1"'™ r'l:''^^ ^"^ P/l™ tranches, and from 

AirtSlVVhe:' wXte^ ;h''ou l"^" '° ^''^^' 
eagerly desired Savi^^rr Ve " I L^wT^^" 
long staves, made a way through th'^^^eU^'",:^' 



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PRISONER'S STORY 




to the golden House, to the king's palace. From all 

doors and windows they shouted : " Come into my 

house I Take shelter under my roof, Thou Saviour 

of the people ! " The crowd poured forward to the 

palace. The disciples, who walked close behind 

Him and could sea cely control their agitation, 

were surrounded, overwhelmed, fanned with palm 

leaves, pelted with rose-buds. Simon Peter had 

been recognised as soon as the Master, and could 

not prevent the people carrying him on their 

shoulders ; but he bent down and implored them 

to set him on the ground, for he did not wish to 

be lifted higher than the Master, and he feared if 

they held him up like that over the heads of the 

others many would take him for the Messiah. John 

had managed better; bending down and breathing 

heavily, he led the animal, so that the people only 

took him for a donkey-driver. All the rest of the 

disciples enjoyed the Master's honours as their 

own. Had they not faithfully shared misery with 

Him ! 

"Jerusalem, thou art still Jerusalem!" they said, 
intoxicated and filled with the storm of exultation 
around Him. " However well it went with us, it has 
never gone so well as here in Jerusalem." 

Judas could not congratulate himself enough that, 
despite the poor procession, the Master was recognised! 
"I always said He would work His miracle when the 
time came." 

" Well, I am full of fears," said Thomas. " They 
shout far too loudly. The sounds come from the 
throat, not from the heart." 

"Oh, take yourself off. You're always full of 
foreboding." 

" I understand people a little. Idle townsfolk are 



OF THE CROSS 



230 



easily pleased ; they like to enjoy themselves, and 
any cause serves their turn." 

"Thomas," said Matthew, reprovingly, "it is not 
your humility that makes you heedless of the honour. 
It IS doubt. See that fat shopkeeper there who 
brings more faith out of his throat. Listen I 
Hail to Thee. Son of David ! ' he shouts, and Is 
already hoarse through his loud shrieks of joy." 

Thomas did not answer. Stooping down In irritation, 
he hastened through the crowd. Cries of welcome 
filled the whole town, and the streets along which the 
procession took its way were like animated palm 
groves. All traffic was at a standstill, windows and 
rorfs were filled with people, all stretching their necks 
to see the Messiah. 

Jesus sat on the animal, both feet on the one side, 
holdmg the reins with His right hand. F ' '-ed 
calmly and earnestly in front of Him, just as if He 
was riding through the dust clouds of the wilcerness. 
When the pinnacles of the royal castle towerinr above 
the roofs of the houses were In front of n/m He 
turned the animal into a side street, to the Temple 
square. Two guards at the entrance to the Temple 
signed violently with their arms to the crowd to go 
away, but the people remained standing there. The 
procession stopped, and Jesus got off the ass. 

" He IS not going to the palace, but to the Temple ? " 
many asked in surprise. " To the Temple ? " 

"To the Rabbis and Pharisees? Then we'll see 
what we shall see." 



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CHAPTER XXVII 

Jesus, with serious determination, quickly ascende( 
the steps of the Temple, without even glancing a 
the shouting people. A part of the crowd prcsset 
after Him, the rest gradually dispersed. But th( 
shout : " Praised be He who has come to-day I " nevei 
ceased the whole day. 

When He entered the forecourt of the Tempk 
and looked in, He stood still in dismay. It was full 
of life and movement. Hundreds of people of all 
kinds were tumbling over each other's heels, in gay- 
coloured coats, in hairy gowns, with tall caps and 
flat turbans. They were all offering goods for sale 
with cries and shrieks; there were spread out 
carpets, candlesticks, hanging lamps, pictures of the 
Temple and of the ark of the covenant, fruit, pottery, 
phylacteries, incense, silken garments, and jewels. 
Money-changers vaunte their high rate of exchange, 
the advantage of Roman money, broke open their rolls 
of gold and let the pieces fall slowly into the scales 
in order to delight the eyes of the pilgrims. Buyers 
made their way through, looked scornfully at the 
goods, haggled, laughed, and bought. Rabbis glided 
round in long caftans and soft shoes so that they 
were not heard. They wore velvet caps on their 
heads below which hung their curly black or gray 
hair. They carried large parchment scrolls under 

940 



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A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 241 

their arms~for the Sabbath was about to beeln- 
shpped around with a dignified, yet cunning manner, 
bargained here and there with shopkeepers or their 
wives, vanished behind the curtains and then re- 
appeared. 

When Jesus had for some time observed all this 
confusion from the threshold, anger overcame Him. 
Pushing the traders aside with His arms. He cut 
Himself a way through. At the nearest booth He 
snatched up a bundle of phylacteries, swung them 
over the heads of the crowd, and exclaimed so loudly 
that His voice was heard above everything • « Ye 
learned teachers and ye Temple guards, see how 
admirably you understand the letter of the Word I 
It IS written in the Scriptures : My house is for 
prayer ! And you have turn. ' Solomon's Temple 
into a bazaar ! " Hardly had He so spoken when He 
overturned a table with His hand, and upset several 
benches with His foot so that the goods fell in 
confusion to the ground under the feet of the crowd 
which began to give way. They stared at one 

r fK «tf^l^'^''' ^"^ "^ continued to thunder 
iorth: "My house shall be a holy refuge for the 
aowncast and the suffering, said the Lord. And you 
make it a den of assassins, and, with your passion 
for lucre, leave no place for men's souls. Out with 
you. ye cheats and thie..ves. whether you higgle over 
your goods or with the Scriptures ! " He swung the 
phylacteries high over the Rabbis and teachefs so 
that they bent their heads and fled through the 

andX t'"'T'''- .^"' ^^^ ^^^'^'^' ^h- Phfrisees' 
!nH • M ""P^^ ^^'^' assembled in the side courts 
and quickly took coi'.nsel how they were to seize thS 
madman and render Him harmless For ^ eve 
more people streamed through the gates intone fore' 

17 



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1 1 

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A PRISONERS STORY 



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4 



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court, surrounded the angry Prophet, and shoute 
"Praised be Thou, O Nazarenc, who art come 
cleanse the Temple! Praise and all hail to Th< 
long looked-for Saviour ! " 

When the Rabbis saw how things were going, th( 
too raised their voices and shouted : " Praised be tl 
Prophet 1 Hail to thee, O Nazarene ! " 

" All is won I " whispered the disciples, crowdir 
up together. " Even the Rabb':=^ shout ! " 

The Rabbis, however, had .quickly sent for tl 
police ; they came up to Jesus, and as soon as tl 
crowd became quieter, entered into conversatic 
with Him. 

" Master," said one of them, " truly you appej 
at the right time. The condition of our poor peop 
is such tliat we know not which way to turn. Yo 
are th- man who turns aside neither to right nor lei 
but who keeps in the straight path of justice. Te 
us what you think : Shall we Jews pay taxes to th 
Roman Emperor or shall we refuse ? " 

Jesus saw what they were driving at, and asked t 
be shown a coin. They were surprised that He ha 
no money in His pockets, and handed Him one c 
the Roman coins current in the country. 
" From whom do these coins come ? " he asked. 
•• As you see, from the Roman Emperor." 
" And whose picture is on the coin ? " 
" The Emperor's." 

" And whose is the inscription on the coin ? " 
" The Emperor's." 
" Whose is the coin ? " 
They were silent. 

Jesus said : " Render unto God what comes fron 
Him, and unto CjEsar what comes from Casar." 
Those who saw through the case broke out intc 



liiif'-Ekiii V,i 



OF THE CROSS 243 

cTi^"wifh H'^'"'''!?r^"' '^' clccision,ancl earned the 
tha He hac r*"- I\' -^^'''^ ''"^'^ '^'^^'^y ^-'o-s 

Messiah but rather a servant of the foreigner And 
d:r; ""^ '"^ r ^"^^-^ '° ^^^^ Emperor He 

now He has both Emperor and {jcople on His side 

and we must let Him alone. ' 

"Kverythin- is goinjr splcnch-dly," the discinh-s 

whispered. "Thev ask fli. .i • .L ^"^^'1"'"^ 
^, : *iit.y asK iiis advice. the\ will rU 

nothing without Him." ^ 

The interpreters of the Law had got Him in their 

"There will be," He answered. 

dislo^ubL"rn7?ha!"a'""" "'" ^"' "^^^^^ '^ -" 
husband ;t a time P" "°"'" "^^ °"'>' ^^^^ ^-^ 
" That is so." 

" And that after the death of one fh^ ^fk 
marry again ? " *"*^ ^t^^*" '"ay 

" It is so." 

^^ ^' You are right, sir," interposed a third speaker 
But suppose a woman had seven hush:.nJ^c ^^^f 

another because they died onfafter ant ^ ""hf 
all rise from the HmH fK^ »""iner. n they 

husbands M once each f' h"""?" ^?'"'' '"'" ^"^" 
yet she .ay ZTy lit ™e " ''"""' ''"^'^"''' -" 

Jesus Jci ' h: fvho ^ksTaf '""'"'''^- ^"'' 

wno asks that question knows 



m-' 




244 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 

neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. The 
Scriptures promise us resurrection, and the power 
of God the eternal life of the soul. There is no 
marriage between souls, so the question falls to the 
ground." 

There was fresh shouting and applause, and 
kerchiefs were waved from all sides. The teachers 
of the Law drew back in ill-humour, and dismissed 
the police vho were waiting in the back court. 



I! ' 






CHAPTER XXVIII 

After the excellent reception in Jerusalem, and the 
victory in the Temple on the first day, the disciples 
ventured to walk about the city fearlessly and openly. 
Jesus remained grave and silent. They put up in a 
quiet inn by the ,,ate. The disciples did not see why 
He should not have lodged them in a palace. They 
would have liked occasionally to accept the invita- 
tion of rich people, and enjoy the homage that would 
be paid them, but Jesus would not permit it. The 
festival of the Passover was at hand ; there was 
something else to do than to be f^ted and have their 
heads turned, they would soon need to have their 
heads very cool. If He accepted any of the invita- 
tions it would be the one from Bethany, where He 
knew He had truer friends than in Jerusalem. But 
meanwhile He had something more to say in the 
Temple. 

When He went there the next day the hall was 
filled to overflowing with people. Rabbis, and ex- 
pounders of the Law. Some had come in order to 
witness His glorification, others to try and ruin Him. 

One of the Pharisees came up to Him and 
asked Him without any preliminaries which was 
the greatest commandment. 

Jesus ascended the pulpit and said : "I have just 
been asked which is the greatest commandment. 

aa 




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A PRISONER'S STORY 



Now, I am not come to give new commandments, 
but to fulfil the old ones. The greatest command- 
ment is : Love God above all, and thy neighbour as 
thyself. Those who asked Me, your teachers and 
interpreters of the Law, say the same, but their 
actions do not square with their words. You may 
believe their words, but you must not imitate their 
deeds. They exact the uttermost from you, but do 
not themselves stir a finger. And what good they 
do, is done in the eyes of the people, so that they 
may win praise. They like to take the first place at 
festivals, and to be greeted on all sides as the 
expounders of Holy Writ. That honour they do 
not offer to God, but to themselves. I tell you he 
who exalts himself will be cast down." 

Some of the Pharisees interrupted Him and con- 
tradicted Him. He turned to them face to face, and 
in a louder voice said : " Yes, you expounders of 
Holy Writ, you seek to shine outwardly. You keep 
your vessels clean on the outside, and your wool soft, 
but inside you are full of wickedness and lust of 
plunder. Ye who sit in the seats of learning and 
preach morals are like tombs adorned with flowers 
outside, but full of corruption inside. You despise the 
fathers because they persecuted the prophets ; while 
you yourselves kill the prophets whom the Lord 
sends to-day, or else suffer them to be contemned. 
And when they are dead you build them fine tombs. 
Cursed be ye, ye hypocrites ! You forbid others to 
be the heralds of salvation ; you even stone them. 
You will not go yourselves into the Kingdom of 
Heaven, and you keep out those who wish to go in. 
Cursed be ye, ye, with your semblance of holiness, 
who take to yourselves the houses of widows and 
the property of orphans under the pretence of love ! 



OF THE CROSS 



247 






Ye fools and blind guides who lead the people to 
petty, unimportant things, to outward observances 
and customs, instead of to the important things— 
to justice, to mercy, and to love ! That is as wise 
as to strain out the gnat and swallow the camel. Ye 
snakes and vipers ! Be ye cursed eternally ! Even 
if God sent His Son you would crucify Him, and 
would pretend you did it for the sake of the people 
because He was a traitor. But know that you will 
have to pay for the blood of the heaven-sent 
Messenger! The time is not far off when the 
blood of your children will flow in streams through 
the streets of Jerusalem ! " 

While Jesus was speaking His disciples trembled. 
They had never seen Him so consumed with anger. 
But it was too soon ! He had no army to protect 
Him if they should attack Him. The crowd was 
immensely excited, and the applause grew to a 
storm. Many screamed with delight that such 
words were at last spoken ; others looked threaten- 
ingly at the Pharisees. They— the Rabbis and 
Pharisees— had all kinds of excuses ready against 
the terrible accusations, but it seemed to them wiser 
not to honour the outbreak of this " seeker of the 
people's favour " with any answer, and to leave the 
Temple at once, unnoticed, by the back entrances. 
The broad square in front of the Temple was a sea 
of heads. As many persons as possible had pushed 
their way in, but the greater number surrounded the 
enormous building, and shouted incessantly: "We 
too, want to hear Him ! Let Him come out and 
preach in the open air so that we may see Him 
Hail to the Messiah King! He shall reign in the 
golden palace and in Solomon's glorious Temple • " 
When Jesus stepped out of the Temple into' the 



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PRISONER'S STORY 




confusion, He heard the shouts, and mounted tf 
plinth of one of the immense pillars that surrounde 
the building. Here again He spoke. Looking a 
the city He hurled these words at the crowd : 

" You boast of your glorious Temple I I tell yo 

that not one stone of this building shall remain on th 

other. For you have heaped up crime upon crime. 

find none of you thirsty, but you are all the worse fc 

drinking. The cup is full, and the present generatio 

shall know it. When desolation comes over the lane 

then let him who is in the valley flee to the mountair 

and let him who is in the field not return into th 

city, and let him who is on the roof not come dowr 

in order to fetch his coat from the house. Fir 

and sword will meet him. Woe to the women an( 

children in those days: they will cry. Mountain 

fall on us and crush us. It will be a wailing an( 

lamentation such as has never before been under th( 

sun, and never will be again. Unappeasable ange 

will overtake the people, Jerusalem will be destroyed 

and its inhabitants be led into captivity by Strang* 

nations. And men will be judged according to thei: 

good or evil deed. Of two who are in the field on< 

will be accepted, the other cast out. Of two who lie 

in the same bed one will be heard, the other ignored 

The grain shall be gathered in the barns, the weed; 

shall be burnt in the fire." 

These words caused some murmuring in the crowd 
and one of the disciples wrung his hands in despair ; 
" There will be trouble over this!" 

Then His tone became gentler: "But do not 
despair ; the days of that misery shall be shortened. 
I will pray for it. Where there is carrion there are 
eagles, and from the nation of sinners shall arise 
martyrs for the truth of God. As the trees blossom 



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OF THE CROSS 



249 



'1 



and sprout after the hard winter, so shall the Kingdom 
of Heaven blossom forth from the purified people. 
For the glad tidings will penetrate through the 
whole universe, and happy will be the nations which 
accept it." 

" Heaven upon earth ? " asked some one from the 

swaying crowd. Jesus answered : " Not your heaven 

upon earth I Not that ! For the earth is too weak 

to bear heaven. The earth is doomed, and of that 

doom the downfall of Jerusalem is but a parable. 

In that day much distress will come. False prophets 

will come and say, We are the saviours of the world I 

Their spirit and their truth will blind the people, but 

it will not be the Holy Spirit or the eternal truth. A 

great weariness and despair will come over men's 

souls, and they will long for death. And as men 

gradually lose their light, their reason, so will the 

stars in the sky be extinguished ; the sea will cover 

the land, and the mountains be sunk in the sea. But 

the fiery token of the Son of God will appear in the 

dark sky." 

"What is the token?" asked one of the pray- 
bearded Rabbis. ^ 

" He who has eyes will soon see the token of the 
Lord's judgment high on Golgotha. His angels will 
announce Him in the air, but not in His lowliness as 
at Bethlehem. He will come in all the strength and 
glory m which He sits at the right hand of the Father 
And He will restore every soul to its body, and reward 
the faithful with eternal joy, and the unbelieving with 
everlasting punishment" 

With terrified countenances and whispered words 
the people asked : « When will this happen ? " 

" \yatch, my children ! God alone knows the day 
and hour. This world is passing, as you see. hour 




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250 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



by hour. Everything changes ; only the word of the 
Father shall endure for ever." 

This speech of the Prophet made a deep im- 
pression on the people. They no longer shouted or 
rejoiced ; they no longer looked on His countenance 
as gladly as the day before, the glowing eyes burnt 
with such terrible anger. They became silent, or only 
whispered to each other. Did you understand ? one 
asked his neighbour quietly. Yes, they had all under- 
stood, but each something different. They were all 
impressed with the words : every one was moved ; 
and groups of people, as they made their way out, 
talked over the Prophet's speech, and many began 
to dispute about it. 

" I don't expect much from this Messiah," said an 
innkeeper to his guests. « As far as I can see, He 
promises more ill than good. If He can offer nothing 
better than the destruction of Jerusalem and the Last 
Judgment, He might just as well have stayed at home 
at Nazareth." 

" No, I've never taken much account of the Last 
Judgment," said a dealer in skins from Jericho. 

" It's quite true," shouted a tailor, " nothing good 
comes from Galilee ! " 

"Nor from Judaea," laughed an unpatriotic tailor 
from Joppa. " I tell you I evpect nothing until we 
have expelled all our Jewish princes and Rabbis 
and become Romans out and out. The Emperor of 
Rome is the true Messiah. All the rest should be 
impaled." 
So they gave vent to their various opinions. 
The Temple authorities rubbed their hands in 
satisfaction. " He is not clever enough to be 
dangerous. He will hardly come within the arm 
of the law after what He has said." 



^r- ■■ 



OF THE CROSS 



251 



" But the people will judge Him," said one of the 
oldest among them, " the people themselves. Mark 
that ! I promise you they will." 

" No, indeed, He is not a man of fair words," said 
one of the overseers. " He does not flatter the mob, 
and my contempt for the Nazarene is less than it was 
yesterday. If He falls in the eyes of the people. He 
rises in mine." 

" The man makes me think that He will soon give 
Himself up. Did you hear His allusion to Golgotha? " 

" Bless my soul, a famous prophet has got to be 
right in something," mocked one of the high priests. 
"I think we ought to confer with the authorities 
so as to prevent any disturbance to-morrow at the 
festival. You understand me ? " 

" That's worth consideration with all this concourse 
of people." 

" I think He has poured enough water on the fire," 
said the high priest. " No one would stir a finger if 
we took Him." 

" Let's wait till the festival is over. You can never 
be sure of the mob." 

"What! After laying traps for Him all over the 
country, are we to let Him insult us here in the 
Temple itself? No, I don't fear the mob any more. 
The law is more hazardous." 



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CHAPTER XXIX 

The little town of Bethany was situated in a narrow 
valley at the foot of the Mount of Olives. There was 
a large house there belonging to a man who had been 
111 for many years ; formerly he had been filled with 
despair, but since he had become an adherent of the 
Nazarene, he was resigned and cheerful. His incur- 
able disease became almost a blessing, for it destroyed 
all disquieting worldly desires and hopes, and also all 
fears. In peaceful seclusion he gave up his heart 
to the Kingdom of God. When he sat in his garden 
and looked out over the quiet working of Nature, 
he hardly remembered that he was .11. He was so 
entirely imbued with the happiness of life in the 
Kingdom of Heaven, and his prayers were full of 
gratitude that death could not destroy such a life 
since It was immortal, and would be carried into 
eternity with the immortal soul. 

Two of the inmates of his house were at one with 
him in this. Magdalen, his wife's sister, the fallen 
woman of Magdala. lived with them since she had 
been obliged to par. from the Master. Now she 
heard with a fearful joy that Jesus was in Jerusalem. 
Her brother, Lazarus, was in still greater excitement 
about It. The youth declared that the Master had 
accomplished the greatest thing of all in regard to 
hira. He could not talk about it enough, and was 

flGB 



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A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 263 

irritated if they did not receive his tale as the very 
newest thing, although it had happened months 
before, when Jesus had been in the wilderne -. of 
Judaa. They had marvelled at the event beyond all 
measure, but when the great miracle came to be 
related every day, it got commonplace. "Just let 
one of you experience what dying is like," Lazarus 
would often exclaim, interrupting a lively conver- 
sation. " When you lie there and turn cold, they 
put on a shroud, tie a kerchief round your head 
stretch you out on a board, and lament that you are 
dead You are dead, but it isn't quite what you 
thought. You know about it ; you are there when 
they put you into the sack, carry you to the grave 
and rend their garments for grief. You are there 
when your body is buried in the damp, everlasting 
darkness, and begins to mingle with the earth Your 
poor soul gathers itself together to utter a cry for 
help but your breast is dead, your throat is dead. 
And in this agony of death, which never ceases a 
man comes by, lays his hand on your head, and says 
Lazarus, get up ! ' and your pulse begins to beat, and 

jive! And live! Do you know what it means- 

Now this family of Bethany had sent to Jerusalem 
and invited the Master to go to their house "^ 
of His travelling companions in order that He miJht 
repose Himself after His long wanderings! homeU^e 

^TZ. ^T '"'"^'^ '' "^ ''^' toLve the ' 
for a little, and accepted the invitation. ] 



discipl 



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254 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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Zl '^-^ ^u^^ ^^'^ ^^^•'•^^ ^^'"e hospitable 
thev n,^ J'''' '^'* "^'^^ '"^ '^"S ^ *'"^« "f hardship 
^ZZ^)u T^ ^^^'" ^ S:lad with the Master ; they 
thought that was only reasonable, considering His 
victory. When the disciples found that only fwo of 

h/nTf ° uf ^''^ "'"'• ^^^y ^^"-^ distressed, for all 
had been obliged to share the hard times with Him. 

..l.^A^.S''' ^""^^ ^^""^^"^ anything with Me?" He 
asked. Have you suffered want?" 

felt wr;J^''TK"''n^'" •'" ^^^ ^y "'"'^^ *h^y ^^^ "«^er 
felt want. The Master rejoiced over their disinteres- 

oldest should go with Him, as was only fafr. So John 
and Simon Peter were chosen. The rest found lodging 
with citizens of the town. Joseph of Arimathea, who 
had property round Jerusalem, -eceived some of the 
disciples. There was the rich Simeon, who had once 
ridden out into the wilderness to gain eternal life, and 
had nearly lost his mortal life. Since then he had 
changed his opinion about the value of great posses- 
sions ; at least, he let the needy share them, and he 
received some of the disciples. James had business 
m Bethpage. on the farther slope of the Mount of 
Olives, where he had hired the ass. He took 
Andrew with him. The animal had been sent 
back, but had not yet been paid for. The little 
old man came to meet them in most friendly 
fashion. He was proud beyond everything that his 
noble brown ass had had so great an honour. He 
had himself been in the city, and had heard how the 
Prophet reproved the Pharisees in the Temple That 
was the finest day of his life. If the Master would 
only come and heal his wife of her rheumatism, he 
would be converted. 
That was a good thing, said James, because they 



OF THE CROSS 266 

hadn't any money uith which to pay him The 
..te old man whistled in surpri J He Taw Iw 

If ffi ""'■■ "°" '""=" ""=^ »•-•' - ^'"- ■'>• "-"n 

In order to save their countrymen's honour thcv 

J^rl . Z°'^ '■" *« B'"-''™ """■' they had ull . 

and thought, perhaps, of the parable of the laSfs 

erus:,:;"!"";, ^T 'hey discussed the events L 
if .K ,. ' ? """^ "'^y >™''''' "-ather be ministers 
hid" w^rlTerr '''' ^°"'^" •'"'^" '^^ '"""^ -h 

fh^'lf"/?"' ""'"' ■'"'•" »"'• IVter reached Bethanv 
the.r host Amon had himself pushed in his vieeled 

Quests 1 >, J T^ *"^ P^y t-^^ '«=P«<:ts to the 
Buests She had, she said, no time for that ■ she had 

- '/nd a h;;;inrharh:Lr Th:t[;dL":f^h1 

anri lo. Vj ^'^"oef lorm of Lazarus hurried un 

hm,aTdt:;^^L'at:""'"■t *""='• '"= -"^"'-d 
to stand up -ght^'Th^^.^™ -:"!::, "''- 

tabt';hfkn^fbe"f:"""J: ''"'"'''" '"^^ *"« « 

She c.wtd^tm'^:"-";:; r^/-rwipf ;t 
oostr:t,t'°or*"L"„:^^,"; 1:^:1 °'"""™' ■""« 

poor, He would harLn'^trXsl!!"" " '° *^ 




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266 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



Jesus heard what he said : " What is wrong, Peter 
She is kind to Me so long as I am here. Whei 
I m no longer with you, you'll still have the pooi 
She has shown Me a mark of love that will never b< 
forgotten." 

Peter was ashamed, and said softly to his neigh 
bours : " He is right. It often happens that people 
leave a good deed undone, and say, ' We'll give some- 
thing, therefore, to the poor.' That's what they say 
but they do neither one nor the other. He is 
right" 

They ate and drank amid the pleasant homely 
surroundings, and were very cheerful. Magdalen 
wanted to sit quite at the lower end of the table, but 
the Master desired her to sit on His right hand. 
Her enthusiastic glance hung on His face, and it 
seemed as if she drank from His mouth every word 
which He spoke. Jesus was indefatigable in narrat- 
ing legends and parables, every one of which con- 
tained some great thought. If He dealt harshly with 
human foolishness before the people. He treated it 
as earnestly now, but with a warm sympathy that went 
to the hearts of all His hearers. The invalid host 
was delighted, and signed to his wife to listen to the 
Master's words. But Martha was continually occu- 
pied in looking after the various courses and dishes, 
in seeing that everything was as perfect as possible,' 
and in serving her guests. She was vexed with her 
sister Magdalen who sat there by His side, and 
troubled herself about nothing. When she again 
brought in a dish, Jesus put His hand gently on her 
arm, and said: "Martha, how busy you are. Do 
leave off for a little, and come and sit down. We've 
had more than enough with all these dainties, and 
you bring us still more. Copy your sister ; she has 



I 



4 



OF THE CROSS 257 

cho«„ the better part-,p,ritual food instead of 

So Martha sat down, and she too watched Hi, 

see how He hked the food. He observed this and 
s^d w,th a smiie, "Every one is kind in'hi:' .T^' 

ll- 2 "" "=°""""«d «o r. .c.d in attractive 
fesh on tlje secrets of the Kingdo.n of Heaven. Bu' 
Martha always interrupted Him with remarks on the 

iKcame a most annoyed, an.l .sair< .,harply • 'Know 
one thing needful." 

Then they also spoke of the Jay', proca dings 

" Do you call that a victory ?" asked Jesus. •• Amon 

Mes'sia"h KiL^^H " 'I'l"'*' "^"^^ ^ '" ^^^^^ 
morraw Th^ Ir°7'" """"" *"= Empire to- 

X Tnirdl™''' tT'' """"^"' ""^y ''^^<' "° idea of 

destrov ,h„ ^' ^^y "'' P'^"^'''^ »■'•"• "ords that 
de troy, they do not want to hear words that build ud 

It s an empty-headed people that can only be oused 

th», M t "' '^y down on cushions, the softest 
that Martha could find in the house. Youn^ T2X 
curly head lay on His breast, Magdalen at'it Hi 
off sat T: '"^ "T"^ r " "'P^'- » "«'e Srthe 
stlk"'g''Hrw'h'].e"harr'"'rV""'' *"" ""'*•■' 
happy Lday ^He had nevi^lrtLT'"'"'^ 
calm and eentle v„f .f^ "^ *'*''«'• so 

disciple. Af "he- abov^ remTrk '"aL''^'!^ ** 
he observed : •• Master if th,? i ^ ""^ P«°Ple 
loved them." ' ""^ ''"'"' """^ deeply you 

18 



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PRISONER'S STORY 




nil 



" They ought to know it." 

" But they cannot know it from the way in which 
you speak to them." 

" The way in which I speak to them ? " said Jesus, 
and stroked the disciple's soft hair. "That is just 
My John all over. He cannot understand that you 
do not stroke buffaloes with peacocks' feathers. I'm 
too hard on these hypocrites, these obdurate, in- 
different men, am I ? When I disappoint those who 
would extract daily profit from Me in the form of 
miracles, when I lay bare the carefully-concealed 
thoughts of their hearts, then I am hard. And when 
I shatter their childish love of the world, their craving 
for vanities, then I am hard. And when they strut 
about with their condemnations and their hard- 
heartedness, trampling the weak underfoot out of 
greed and malice, haughty as the heathens who 
bring human sacrifires to their gods, I would fam 
chastise them with a lash of scorpioi.. But when 
the forsaken come to Me, and penitent sinners 
trustfully seek refuge with Me, then, John, I am not 

hard." 

The voices of children playing in the courtyard 
sounded through the open windows. Jesus turned to 
His hostess and said : " Martha ! You have excellently 
entertained Me in your house. Will you give Me yet 

another treat ? " • . r 

"What is it. Master? I would leave no wish ot 

yours ungratified." 

" The little ones— let them come in." 

" Ah ! my poor boy will cry his eyes out that he 
wasn't here to-day. Dear lad, he's in Jerusalem." 

« God be his guard ! Let those who are playing in 
the courtyard come up." , ,• i 

They came shyly in at the door, two dark little 



mH 



OF THE CROSS 



259 



in- 



girls, and a fair boy, who carried a carved wood camel 
in his hand. When Jesus spread out His arms, they 
went to Him, and were soon at home, holding up their 
little red mouths, in which He put fruit from the 
table. Peter, who would have liked to sleep a little 
was not particularly pleased with the little guests,' 
but was glad that the Master petted them and joked 
with them. 

Then Jesus said to the boy: "Benjamin, mount 
your camel, ride to that man over there, and ask him 
why he is so silent." 

Peter accepted the invitation to join in the con- 
yersation. but he was not very happy in what he said. 
"Master," he said hesitatingly, "what I have to say 
is scarcely suited to this pleasant day." 

Such remarks, said Martha humorously, were of 
the right sort to add to the cheerfulness of the com- 
pany. Peter was not the man to keep a secret 
long. Turning to the Master, he said : " Early to-day 
in the city, I heard some people talking. They're 
always doing you some injustice." 

" What were they saying, Peter ? " 

" They said that the Prophet was a man of fair 
words but that He did nothing. He never once 
healed the sick who came to him from -reat 
distances." ^ 

" They say that ? " 

" Yes, sir, that's the kind of thing they say " 

Jesus raised His head, and looked cheerfully round 

the circle. While He rocked one of the little girls on 

His knee. He said calmly: "So they say I only talk 

and^ do nothing. In their sense they are right I 

fr T r^ v' J^^y '"^^"' be^^»^e they don't see Me do 
It. I don t fast, because we can't eat less than a little 
except when we sit at a luxurious table like Martha's* 



it 



m 



260 



A PRISONER'S STORY 




I don't give alms because My purse is empty. What 
good do I do, then ? I don't work, because in their 
eyes My work doesn't count. I don't work miracles 
on their bodies, because I am come to heal their 
souls. Amon, say, would you exchange the peace of 
your heart for sound legs ? " 

"Lord!" exclaimed Amon vivaciously, "if they 
say you do nothing good, just let them come to the 
house of old Amon at Bethany. You came under 
my roof, and my soul was healed." 

" And you brought me resurrection and life," 
shouted Lazarus passionately from the other etid 
of the room. 

" And me, more than that," said Magdalen, looking 
up at Him with moist eyes. And then she bent down 
and kissed His feet. 

And Peter exclaimed : " I was a mere worm, and 
He made me a man. He does more than all the 
Rabbis and physicians and generals put together." 

Then John turned to him and asked : " Brother, 
why didn't you talk like that to the people in 
Jerusalem ? Were you afraid of them ? " 

" Is yon man a coward ? " asked the boy, pointinij 
with his hand to Peter. " Then he'll help us to play 
lion and sheep in the courtyard ! " 

Jesus shook His head over such talk, and said : "No, 
My Peter is not a coward, but he is still somewhat 
unstable for a rock. No one who, at his age, can train 
himself for the Kingdom of God could be a weakling." 

Martha, who had gone out to look after the supper, 
called into the room that the children's mother wanted 
them to go to her to read the Haggadah. 

The little ones pulled long faces. " To read the 
Haggadah I " murmured the boy in a tone far too 
contemptuous of the holy Passover book. 



OF THE CROSS 261 

asked Mur '"'' '° "^' ^'^"^ ^^^' -y child P" 
" No," replied the boy crossly 
John pinched hi:, red cheek "Mo. »,. u . 
Good boys alwavs liU^fr. T \ Naughty boy! 
ywiways like to hear about God." 
iiut not always to read about Him'" said fh. 
httle one. " The HsCTfrarioK *• **"" • said the 

TK • . T "^i^fi^adah tires me to death " 

Then said Jesus • " He is nf fh u 

whom God is spoiled hvZ . ""^^^P^ °"^*' ^°'' 

Would you rZr's'Z'X^^^^^ 

and read the HTggadah?^' ' '^'^''' '^^" ^° 

"Ves, yes, we'll stay with vnn" a j n , 
hung round His neck "^ ^" ^^'^« 

^ And Martha sought the mother and told her • 

They are reading the Haggadah with six arm J ' 




V! 






I M 



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»|li 



CHAPTER XXX 

Two days were spent in this quiet, cheerful fashion 
Then Jesus said to the disciples: "It is over; we musi 
return to Jerusalem." 

They were to spend the festival in the city, anc 
James had hired a room in which the Master and Hi; 
twelve faithful friends could solemnly celebrate thi 
Passover. His disciples again gathered round Him 
but they looked anxious. For they had had un 
pleasant experiences in their walks through the town 
The mood of the people had entirely changed 
they spoke little of the Messiah but rather of the 
demagogue and betrayer of the people, just in the 
same tone as had been used in Galilee. Only here 
the expressions were more forcible, and accompaniec 
with threatening gestures. In front of the towr 
gates, where there was a rocky hill, Thomas had 
watched two carpenters nailing crossbeams to long 
stakes. He asked what they were doing, and 
was told that criminals were impaled on the festival 
Questioning them more closely, he learned that the> 
were desert robbers. 

" Desert robbers ? " said a passer-by. " What are 
desert robbers? There are desert robbers every 
year. This time quite different people are to be 
hoisted up.' 

"Yes, if they're caught," said another. "Hi; 

96-2 



" His 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 263 

followers are burrowing somewhere in the city, but 
He H.msdf has flown. It's too absurd how the police 
seek everywhere, and can't find out where He is" 

hiJselS''' "°' "^"' ^^ '^^^ ^"^ "^^^^' -^'^-^ 
Judas heard similar things, only more plainly ; it was 
quite clear that it was the Ma-st« who was meant, 
rhings had gone as far as that ! And all the enthusiasm 
had been false. The olive-branches and palm-leaves 
were not yet all trodden down, and they bore witness 
to the Messianic ecstasy of four days ago. And to- 
day? To-daythepohcewere searching for Him' But 
wasn't it His own fault ? To run into the jaws of your 
enemies, and to irritate and abuse them_to do no 
more than that ! If He had only stirred a fold of His 
doak to show who He was. Who believed that He had 

tol^ °T?' ""T; "^^ "" ^"^ ^^°"Sh^ the dead 
r 1^ They only laughed when such things were 
related. Why did He not do something now ? JusI 
one miracle, and we should be saved. Perhaps He is 
jntentionally letting things come to theTors" so 
that His power may appear the more impressive. 
Theywdl take Him and put Him in chains, lead Him 
out amid the joyful cries of the mob, and suddenly 
a troop of angels with fiery swords will come down 
from heaven, destroy the enemy, and the Messiah 
revealed will ascend the throne. '^' That will hapT„^ 
must happen. The sooner the better for all oTu"' 
How can It be hurried on? His indecision must h^" 
changed into determination, i wish they hTd Him 
already, so that we could celebrate a glorious Passov^ 
Such were the thoughts of the disciple. Judas Isca J^* 

uidi evening, i he pinnarlf-c av^ fnxx.-^- « 

the dun red of thf se..„g Lt '^-^^r^err, 



n<r 



264 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



ir 



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t' . 










^'f-||ll 










:t"f' J 



companies of soldiers : a captain stopped him and 
asked if he did not come from Galilee ? 

" I suppose you're asking about the Prophet," 
replied Judas; "no, I'm not He." 

" But I'm certain you linow about Him." 

Judas drew a deep breath, as if he were on the 
point of saying something. But he said nothing, 
pursued his way, and came to the house where they 
were all gathered round the Master. 

The room was large and gloomy. A single lamp 
was suspended over the large table, covered with a 
white cloth, that stood in the centre, around which 
they were already seated. The Master was so placed 
that the whole table could see Him. A large dish with 
the roasted Paschal lamb stood before Him. By its 
side were the Peissover herbs in shallow bowls. On 
the table were other bowls, and the unleavened bread 
baked for the festival in remembrance of the manna 
eaten in the wilderness. Near the centre of the table 
was a beaker oi red wine. They were silent or 
speaking in vbi^pors, so that the steps of Judas, as 
he entered, echoed. He was almost terrified by the 
echo. Then he greeted them in silence with a low 
bow and sat down, just opposite John, who was at 
the Master's right hand, while Peter sat at His left. 

There was solemn silence. Their first Passover in 
Jerusalem ! Jesus took one of the unleavened cakes, 
broke it, and laid the pieces down. James divided 
the lamb into thirteen portions. 

"We are thirteen at table," whispered Thaddeus to 
his neighbour Bartholomew. He was silent. They 
did not eat, but sat there in silence. The lamp 
flickered, and the reddish reflection hovered about 
the table. Then Jesus began to speak. 

" Eat and drink. The hour approaches." 



t<-'i 






Mi' 



OF THE CROSS 



265 



i 



^ John placed his hand tenderly on His. and asked : 
What do you mean, Lord, when you say. The 
hour approaches ? " ^7. 

"My friends." said Jesus, "you will not understand 
how what will happen this night can come to pass. 
1 hey will come and condemn Me to death. I shall 
not flee for ,t must be so. I have to bear testimony to 
the Father m heaven and of His tidings, and therefore 
I am ready to die. If J were not willing to die 
for My words, they would be like sand in the desert. 
• Irf "°^,^"^^"& to die. My friends would not be 
justified, and would doubt Me. A good shepherd 
must lay down his life for his flock." 
^^ "Master." said Thomas, and his voice trembled. 

doult''you""^°" "''' °"^^ ^^'" y°" ^'^' ^°"^^ ^^ 

...J^'Tr/^'"' ^"^^^^ ^^^^y *"°""d the circle, and 

u^xru .^ ^""^"^ y^"" ^°"bts Me. though I live." 

What do you mean by that. Lord ? " asked Judas. 

wal Yet ; " "^ M ^" °' ^^" ^°^^ "'^ pointed 
S J K ''°").^ ^ ^^'^' ^^'^ '^^' "^^n never to 
MTtht nig^- ^"^ °^ ^^ °-" P-P^^ -"^ ^tray 

silent LT'^ '^°''" ^7 ^ ^"^^y ^^'S^t they were 

" One of the twelve who sit at this table." 
Master." exclaimed Peter, "what causes that 
gloomy thought? No one is unfaithful " 
Jesus said to him: "Yes. Simon Peter» AnH 

happen a. the Father in His wiXm haf dete^S 




■r- 

■ 



^i| 



^M 




266 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



But the time of work begins for you. You will be 
My apostles, My ambassadors, who will travel over 
the world to tell all the nations what I have told you. 
You shall be the salt of humanity, and season it with 
wisdom. You shall be the yeast which causes it to 
ferment. To others I have said, Do the good work 
secretly ; to you I say. Let your light shine forth 
as an example. Be wily a the serpent, and let not 
hypocrites deceive you ; be like clever money- 
changers, who accept only good coins and refuse 
the false. Be without guile, like doves, and go forth, 
innocent as the sheep who go among wolves. If they 
have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. 
Where you sow peace for others, there will be the 
sword for you. It will also come to pass that your 
message of peace will awake discord ; one brother will 
dispute with the others, children will be against their 
parents, because some will be for Me and others 
against Me. But the time will come when they will 
be united, one flock under the care of one shepherd. 
Then there will be a great fire on earth, that of 
enthusiasm for the Spirit and for Love. Would it were 
already burning ! Do not despair because with your 
simplicity and want of eloquence, your ignorance of 
foreign tongues, you must travel in strange lands. The 
moment you have to speak, My Spirit will speak 
through you in burning eloquence. If you are silent, 
then the stones must speak, so vital is the word that 
must be spoken. You must speak to the lowly of the 
glad tidings ; you must speak to the mighty who 
possess the power to kill your body, but not your 
soul. Days of temptation and persecution will come, 
I will not cease to implore the Father to stand by 
you. Be not cast down. If I did not now depart, 
the Spirit could not cooic to yott. The visibk is s: 



OP THE CROSS 



207 



enemy of the invisible. I have spoken to you much 
in parables, so that it may the better remain in your 
memory. I had still much to say to you ; but My 
Spirit will speak to you, and He will make you under- 
stand more easily than when I spoke in parables. 
Upon you I build My Church ; do you open the 
Kingdom of God to all who seek it. What you do 
on earth in My name will also hold good in heaven 
with the Father. And now I give you My peace as 
the world can never give it. I remain with you in 
My Spirit and My Love." 
• 
The great words were spoken. A solemn peace 
fell on their hearts. Judas went out. The rest sat 
on in silence and looked at the Master with un- 
bounded affection. They could not understand what 
He had said, but they felt these were words before 
which the earth would tremble and the heavens bow 
down. 

And now something extraordinary happened. It 
was not a miracle, it was more than a miracle. Jesus 
stood up, took a towel and a washing-bowl, knelt 
before each, and washed his feet. In their astonish- 
ment they offered no resistance. When He came to 
Peter, Peter said, " No, Master, you shall not wash 
my feet." 

To which Jesus replied : " If I do not, then you are 
not Mine." 

Said Peter ."If that is so, then wash my face and 
hands, too, O Lord ! so that it may be evident how 
utterly I am yours." 

Then Jesus said : " You call me Lord, and yet I 
wash your feet. I do this so that you may know that 
among men there is no lord, that all are brethren 
who shall serve one another. See how I love you 



288 A PRISONER'S STORY OP THE CROSS 



I- 
it 






m 



No one can give a greater proof of his love than to 
die so that his friends may live. So I leave you 
this legacy : Brothers, love one another. As I love 
you, love one another." 

John, overcome by those words, sank on his knees, 
and, sobbing, laid his head upon His bosom. And 
Jesus said once more : " Children, love one another." 

Then He again sat down with them at the table. 
They were all silent. Jesus took bread in His hand, 
lifted it a little towards heaven that it might be 
blessed, and broke it in two. He handed the pieces 
to the right and left of Him, and said : " Take it and 
eat. It is My body that will be broken for you." 

They took it. Then He took the beaker of wine, 
lifted it to heaven that it might be blessed, passed it 
round, and said: "Take it and drink. It is My 
blood that will be shed for you." 

And when they had all drunk. He added : " Do 
this in remembrance of Me." 




CHAPTER XXXI 

When the disciples separated after the meal not- 
w.thsta„d,ng their fears, they did not realise that 
U was a farewell. They sought their lodgings 
Only John, Peter, and James accompanied the 
Master when He left the town in the "iark night 

f Olives. There was a garden there. White stones 
lay between the savin trees and the wip,"„J 
cypresses fresh spring grass covered the gXd 
Jesus sa>d to His companions : "Stay here a^" 
He H.mself went farther into the garden. The skv 
was covered by a thin veil of cloud, so tha thl ^ '^ 
shed a pale light over the earth The town oHhe 
mountain rose up dark and still ; no souTwas tot 
heard except the rippling of the brook Kedron in th^ 
valley Jesus stood and looked up through the tries 
towards heaven. He breathed heavily, and dropHf 
perspiration stood on Hi. brow. He felt , T . 
agony, an agony He had never before known H?H 
He not often thought of death and in u"' • . 
felt quite reconciled to it? Dd He not . ' T'' 
the Heavenly Father would receivrH,"m , n"", ""** 
still belonged to this sweet nfe'telor^d^Sft'^' 
way was open to Him to escape death I. »■ t 
so weak now that it is troubl^ bTL '°"' 

.He enemy at hand, ready to siS^r^^Xnol 



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270 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



go over the mountain to Jericho, into the wilderness, 
to the sea ? No, not flight. Of His own free will He 
is to appear before the judges in order to stand by 
what He said. Ah ! but this surrender to the powers 
He had offended means death. He sank down on 
the ground so that His head touched the grass, as if 
He would draw the earth to Him with eager arms. 
" Must it be, O Father ? Fain would I stay with 
men in order to bring them nearer to Me. Who 
will guide My disciples, still so weak? Guard 
them from evil, but do not take them from the 
world. Let them live and spread Thy name. If 
it is possible, let Me stay with them. But if it must 
be, take this agony of soul from Me and stand 
by Me. But I must not demand aught. My God, 
only humbly entreat. If it is Thy will that I shall 
suffer all human sorrow and pain, then Thy will be 
done. Accept this sacrifice for all who have provoked 
Thee. If Thou desirest it, I will take the sins of the 
world upon Me, and atone for them that Thou mayest 
pardon. But if it may be avoided, Father, My Father 
who art in heaven, have mercy on Thy Son, who has 
proclaimed Thy mercy." So He prayed, and in His 
infinite distress He longed for His disciples. He 
went to them and found them asleep. They were 
sleeping like innocent children, and knew nothing of 
His terrible struggle. He woke Peter, and said : " I 
am well-nigh perishing with sorrow. Surely you 
might watch with Me in this hour." 

The disciple pulled himself together with some 
difficulty and shook the others. But when Jesus 
looked at the poor fellows. He thought : " What 
ran they do for Me?" He left them and went 
away, in order to fight through it alone. And again 
He prayed : " Help Me, Lord ; Oh, My God, forsake 






OF THE CROSS 



271 



Me not But Heaven was silent, the loneliness was 
intolerable, and He once more went back to His 
disciples. They were again fast asleep. They rested 
so peacefully, tired out by the cruel world, that Jesus 
thou^^ht Well, let them sleep. Drops, like blood, ran 
down His forehead and fell on the ground. A third 
time He turned to the Father : " Forsaken of ail. on 
Thee alone I call. There is none to hear Me in My 
agony. They are all asleep, and the clash of spears 
IS on the road. Lord God, send Thine angels to 
protect Me!" ** 

Not a leaf stirred; there was not a breath of air. 
Heaven remained deaf and dumb. 

" It is the silent word of God. To His will I 
submit." 



CHAPTER XXXII 







Whe-N Judas sat in the room among the twelv 
he felt so bewildered and confused that he did n 
hear all that Jesiis said. So he got up, left tl 
room, and rushed through the empty streets 
the city. " One of those who sit at this table w 
betray Me!" He knows men's thought' Th 
gives Him power over all. But He does nut knc 
how to use that power, He must be driven 
that. Judas could think of nothing else. T 
thought with which hitherto he had only playe 
now took violent possession of his head and hea 
He went through the city gate, which was not clos> 
at this Passover time. He would spend the nig 
among the bushes ; but see— there goes the Mast 
along the road with three of His disciples. Jucl 
stretched out his hea^' between the branches in ore 
to look after them, liiey went towards the valh 
Were they going to Bethany ? Now he knew wh 
to do. He quickly pulled himself together, and we 
straight off to the Roman captain, 

" I know where He is." 

" You want money for this Jew ? " 

" That's not my reason for telling you." 

" Yet you tell me." 

" Because I can't wait any longer. You will fi 
out who He is, ere long." 

372 



twelve, 
did not 
left the 
reets of 
ible will 
That 
ot know 
riven to 
e. The 

played, 
id heart. 
3t clobcd 
he night 
i Master 
i. Judas 

in order 
e valley. 
ew what 
md went 



will find 



A PRI80NEB8 STOKT OF THE CROSS 273 

" Well, where is He ? " 

His cheek. That ;,•;, feH^^ "? '° °"« "nd kiss 

whl't"rj,' S.' ^"^ «'■•» -thout ™e. , know 

" Well, how much do you wanf j a .,.- 
pieces enough ? " ' ^'^ ""rty silvc-r 

'• The Man is worth more." 

I do not haggle over prices." 

Well, give what you Dleas^ if 
you very dear." •^"" P'^a«- ' fancy He will cost 

*e'c:inrr the"":';!'- •'"'"• '"' '— «. put 

had only had thisTor Td '"' "l''"^'"^ '^-- 
use to us. Then a tr.^^ And now it's hardly any 

'heir midst, and JrTj[ '°l^'^" P'^^d hfm i^ 
■narched oul of the "CLd H '• •""= P'°^*^'°" 
of Kedron. They ro"se^"^,f7" T ""^ ^""^^ 
entrance to the earH™ . • '"■°°''' ^nd at the 
Bethany But ! s^/"" i"'^"''^^ '° Proceed to 
ob-^rved, by the glim; 'r TZ ^'^"? °' J^^as 
on the ground undeTTbush „ "' *^"'''=' '^'"^ 
«nd recognised the l^othet' " , f^^^' '"oked, 
soldrers to enter the Z-H ■ *'S"=<' to the 

quietly is the way of tral?^ '''""'>'• ^o walk 
\°"nd of marching and h?' Tk °'"/"ri°«- The 
the disciples. A very diff- i °^ '^°"^' «'°'<« 
gentle bidding of t"^ t^^] -^-"8 f-m the 
and hastened to where He w^ Li" '^ """^^ "P 

Judas came forward anJ '^^"hng. 
you,'" Thenhewemuotol^ "^^ "'"■ghten 
»*ake. Master?" h" b^^ '° ^^".'' "^0" are still 

,;' "o*" '" ereeung, kissed 



274 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROJ 

Him lightly on the cheek, and thought in tremulo 
expectation : Messiah King, now reveal Thyself! 

Then the soldiers rushed up. They had be 
joined by a mob armed with sticks and cudgels, ji 
as when notorious criminals are taken. Jesus w( 
forward a few steps to meet them and offered I 
hands to them to be bound. John threw hims 
between, but he was dashed to the ground. Jan 
struggled with two of the soldiers, Peter snatcl 
the sword of a third, and hacked at one of i 
Temple guards so that his ear flew from 

body. 

"What are you doing?" Jesus called to 
disciple. '• If you interfere they will kill you. \ 
will conquer not with the sword, but with the wc 
But you, O people of Jerusalem ; you treat Me 
shamefully as if I were a murderer. And only 
days ago you led Me into the city with palms i 
psalms. What have I done since then? I sat 
the Temple among you. Why did you not take 

then ? " 

They mocked at Him. " Isn't to-day soon enc 
for you ? Can't you wait any longer for your lad 
to heaven ? Patience, it is set up already." 

When the disciples hea-d such allusions, and 
the Master calmly surrendering Himself, they d 
back. The sticks and spears clashed together, 
crowd jogged along, the torches flickered, and so 
procession went up to the city. 

Judas stood behind the trunk of a tree, lool 
through the branches at the dread procession, anc 
eyes started from his head in terror. 



1 



CROSS 

•emulous 
self! 
ad been 
gels, just 
sus went 
ered His 
f himself 
. James 
snatched 
e of the 
from his 

1 to the 
ou. You 
the word. 
at Me as 

only five 
)alms and 

I sat in 
; take Me 



)n enough 
)ur ladder 



, and saw 
they drew 
rether, the 
md so the 

«, looking 
an, and his 



CHAPTER XXXIII 



heathen judaes that thlf ™? ^"""^ "'">. 'he 

High fr-^^fc^^l^Z^;^''°''^'"'"^'"'- The 
was delighted th«,t I ^ °'"'' "2^* e'adly ; he 

he though, that 'rtl & P„W f ' "'"l" '"'«• "'" 
the accusation • he ^T ."*^ ^^""^^ fra^e 

Wth the Roma'n iLs anr"^Tj "^"^ =''<'"»'""='' 

"ckhsh busings m:;":!^'^"'^"?'.*^ 

delighted ttet the 1,T """T ^""^=> '«>. >-as 

fashion, was caught ^tlS He" "."."^""-"^ " 
matter this very nLtllff.K "'°"''' ='^«''= "le 
reliance was To be ^iT ""^ P«°P'^.°n whom no 
-spect to tL Lcusauon^th "T, '"'"'"'■ ^ith 
of Jerusalem must me' "l '"T "'" '"S" P"«'hood 
this knotty «"' ""ff '" "'I" *« take counsel over 

nothing th^yTo Id taLT": °' .'^" '"-^ -- 
H'^ speeches to the Sol H^ ^^'"'' *''" ''''"o"'- 

Temple were, unfortunSlf'r'r'^^ ■'" '"<= 
-a political one if oossihii ?*"*• Some crime 

Him. if that hel LTth ' RoT'' ^ ^'"'^ ^<^'"^t 
condemn Him ™*" governor, «-as to 



37S 



276 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



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«'"! 



So they met at the house of Caiaphas to 
counsel. They carried innumerable scrolls u 
their arms, in which were written all manner of tl 
that had occurred since the first appearance o 
Nazarene. The Galilean Rabbis especially had 
volumes in order to discredit and expose Him. 
all this would not be sufficient for the gove 
Some definite point must be clearly worked u 

Then Jesus was brought in. His hands 
bound, His dress was soiled and torn, 
countenance very sad. The crowd had already 
proof of His courage. He stood there qu 
Terror He no longer felt, sadness alone lay in 
eyes. They turned over the scrolls and s 
together in whispers. It was made known that 
would be glad to hear any one who could 1 
any evidence against Him. But no one ofil 
The priests looked at each other in bewilden 
Those who struck Him and insulted Him must s 
know why they did it ! 

At length a deformed man came forward. H< 
certainly only a poor camel-dealer, but he 1 
something. The story of the whale! The Gal 
said that, just as the whale cast up Jonah after 
days, so would He come forth from His grave 
days after His death. The man had also said thi 
would destroy Solomon's Temple, which had t 
forty-seven years to build, and rebuild it in 
days. Other witnesses could be found to testi 

these things. 

Some considered, however, that these stones 
empty exaggerations, and nothing more. 

"They are blasphemy," exclaimed Caia 
" Everything He says has a hidden meaning. ^ 
He meant was that three days after His deatl 



as to take 
oils under 
;r of things 
ince of the 
y had sent 
Him. Yet 
governor, 
ked up. 
lands were 
torn, His 
Iready had 
re quietly, 
lay in His 
and spoke 
n that they 
ould bring 
ne offered, 
vilderment. 
must surely 

i. He was 

t he knew 
tie Galilean 

after three 
^rave three 
lid that He 

had taken 
it in three 
3 testify to 

tories were 

Caiaphas. 
ing. What 
i death He 



■* 



OF THE CROSS 277 

would rise again, in order to destroy the Kingdom 
of he Jeu's and establish a new Kingdom." Then 
he turned to Jesus : " Did you say that ? " 

Jesus was silent, 

" He does not deny it ; He did say it. The wrath 
of Jehovah which presses heavily on Israe has 4en 
evoked by this blasphemer and false prophet And 

turned t'o '[hf " 'T' T '^"^ '''" ^^^^ ^* 
turned to the people who were gathering in in- 

creasing numbers in the fore-court : « Let him who 

l:7si::uf'"' '^'''^^ ^^---^ »-. -me wS 

Then several voices exclaimed: "He is a 

onl^Z'r "' V. 't'^' P^°P^^*' H- »^- brought 
on us the curse of Jehovah ! " 

"Do you hear?" said the Hith Priest "Thnf 

IS the voice of the oeoDJe l V«f V ^' 

the nicest r.f .« ^ P ^^* '" ^'^^^^ 'o satisfy 

P^ak onL ! "?"^^'^"^^^' ^e will permit Him to 

"You say so," replied Jesus. 
Mvo^'riT'^ '" ^ '"!"'" ^°'«' C^'^Phas asked : •■ By 

no^Wie::1tirtMts.ffJr'^ ""^O" '" 
factor, you wHI Li : . ^^°" J""" *^ » male- 
heave; rj^'^dr^ '1*'"^/ k""!:^ '°^" <■""- 
God." ' '"^ "ght hand of Almighty 

turd^lH^sselr-^CTo '^°^'*^' '="^'"'- 
■^'"-■-otrankBlLphe^rnrr^^nXXe' 




jriti| 1 





:« 



278 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



If that's not blasphemy then we have punished o 
who said less, far too severely. What "hall v 
with Him?" 

Several priests rent their garments in anger 
shouted : " Let Him die I " 

The cry was taken up by many voices oi 
the streets. The priests immediately put th'n 
shape for the sentence to be pronounced that i 
?nd, if possible, carried into effect before the les 
without making a stir. 

If the matter had rested with Herod, King c 
Jews, he would have rid himself of his rival 
Nazareth with a snap of his fingers ; but it wa 
Roman governor with whom they had to deal. 
Pontius Pilate also was awakened in the night, 
was a Roman, and had been appointed b> 
Emperor to hold Judaea in spite of Herod, v 
Jewish ' igdom had become as nothing. Pilate 
declared that this office of ruling the Jewish peop 
the Emperor had been his evil star. He would r 
have remained in cultured Rome, whose gods 
niuch more amiable than the perverse Jehovah, i 
whom all kinds of sects disputed. And then i 
this Nazarene. When Pilate learnt the reason 
he was disturbed from his sleep, he cursed. " 
stupid business again about the Tazarene, 
accompanied by a few beggars, rode into Terus 
on an ass, and said He was the Messiah. 7 ne p 
laughtd at Him. And that's to be made a pel 
case. They should expel Him from the Temple 
let people sleep." 

But the crowd shouted in front of his wind 
" He is a blasphemer I A deceiver and a tra 
An anarchist ! He must be tried ! " Pilate die 
know what to do. Then his wife came, and entn 



jhed others:, 
hall we do 

anger and 

ces out in 

t th'ngs in 

that night, 

the lestival, 

Cing of the 
rival from 
t it was the 
> deal. So 
night. He 
;ed by the 
rod, whose 
Pilate often 
I people for 
ould rather 
gods were 
Dvah, about 
then came 
reason why 
led. " This 
Irene, who, 
I Terusalem 
1 ne people 
; a political 
femple anu 

J windows : 

a traitor! 

ate did not 

d entreated 



OF THE CROSS 279 

Where .Z'Z^lr'^. td^t dtV wll?'' ^^d 

airca^driir';„7uti"Te ""'""';'!?" " '■' 

nois^ In ft, I ^*"<'ng. he commanded. The 
no,»e^.„ .he street became more threatening ever, 

house. The crowd M ~""'""''^ °^ ™»t='» 
insulted H,:. X ZL'^HZ'^^'t "'"" ""^ 
cloak of a Bedouin f„,^. " '" ** '°™ ^d 
thorns fron, a heTge LT' '"'?',' *'>' P'"=''«' 
wove them into a^rown , 4""^* ""'"f^ £"''«"■ 
They broke off I T;^"': " '" "=^ "ead. 
hand as a sceotr,. tI * '' P" " '"*° His 

sputie. AndX-thi'irr '^ -^-: -"? 

tongues at Him. '''^^^'^^•^'"S \ and nit out their 
Jesus sat there, calm and unmoved h ir^i. a 

His tormentors with sad eyes not V„ f . ^^^"^ ^* 
His disciples, terrified'trdeVth had'' ^ "'^ " 

up. but remained outside the walls P^ ""^ ""'^ 
over the infamous betrayal tJfK^^'' ""^ *» 

could not understand wh tn '^''"" ^^^ 

sore distress he stood In tJ e f^ .r'"''"^ J"^^^" »- 

it was dark. Then a ^M . '^^^'' "°"'"*>'^'-d ^^ere 

way to the wel for ^^^^ '''^^^ "P to him on Wr 





Ill 





280 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



" Here's another I " she shouted. " U'^y are y 
standing here ? Go and do homage to your King. 

Peter turned In the direction of the gate. 

"You're one of those Galileans, too," sh o 
tinued. 

" What have I to do with Galilee ? " he said. 

A gatekeeper interposed: "Of course he ii 
Galilean. You can see that by his dress. He belor 
to the Nazarene." 

" I do not know Him," sai Peter, and tried 
hurry off. The gatekeeper stopped him with the sh 
of his spear. " Halt there, you Jew ! Your Ki 
is seated yonder on His throne. Do homage to H 
before He flies into the clouds." 

" Let me alone ; I do not know the man," exclaim 
Peter, and hastened away. As he went out of t 
gate, a cock crowed just over his head. Peter starte 
Did he not speak of a cock at supper? "Ai 
another will deny Me this night just before cock-crov 
In a flash the old disciple saw what he had dor 
From terror that he too would be seized, he had li( 
about his Master, about Him who had been ever 
thing to him—everything— everything. Now in H 
need they had left Him alone, had not even hi 
the courage to acknowledge themselves His su 
porters. "Oh, Simon I" he said to himself, "yc 
should have stayed by your lake instead of playir 
at being the chosen of God. He gave me His Kingdo 
of Heaven and this is how I requite Him ! " His li 
was now so broken that he crept out into the desei 
There he threw himself on a stone, wrung his hand 
and abandoned himself to weeping. 

Jesus was at last brought into the hall before th 
Governor. When Pilate saw Him in that unheard-( 
disguise, his temper began to rise. He was not to h 



are you 
King." 

sh con- 

d. 

he ij .1 

i belongs 

tried to 
the shaft 
>ur King 
! to Him 

cclaimed 
It of the 
r started. 
' " And 
:k-crow." 
ad done, 
had hed 
n evcry- 

in His 
^en had 
lis sup- 
If, "you 

playing 
kingdom 

His life 
e desert, 
s hands, 

fore the 
tieard-of 
ot to be 



OP THE CROSS 281 

waked from H ileep for a joke. Well, the Tews had 

"Wh*aO"'t ""' »«"«"■<>" but found nothing in it. 
poT." .. ,t r"" '° l^" "'B'' P"'^" "«• 'heir »"P- 

^ '-2. ,[\° "",'*^"'" ^°'" ^'"ef Why, what 
•K /ou thinking of?" .„,,ead of terrifyint; the 

,"„,„""?" '"'""■" *en"y.he desirJ to enter 
ZlTrr" 1" """• '''"■""eh the Na.arcno 
l^,h,— u?"'" "'""'"'^ Pl'^ht, He must have 

.something m Him to have roused the masses as He 

did. He wanted to make Hi- acquaintance. In a 
ofd He"""",!' "t P"' " "■"'"« ""-'-- *° "^ 

«^^ som:/°' ''".'"■'" *°°- '■°' «^«" heathen 

Heaven? hT'^™,".""' "'"'" *" ^■■"8''om of 
Heaven? How should a man set about lovinc a God 
whom no one had ever seen ? Or which among ,^ 

would hke to know what truth really was 
Jesus said not a word. 

..•nZ°i4r'aTd";hrtv'' "'1'""^ "'P™'^" ■=""• 
of course !n,l,K '" ^°"' '*''°"'- ■^'o" know, 

of one whl ^ .? ■"■"'""" >""■ "*"'•• '■" «>« Pf<=«=nce 
set you free." '^"'' '° P"' ''°" '° ^'=''"' "^ '» 

Jesus was still silent. 

bec?mV m""* "•""'J' "''''''y ""'='' '"e large courtyard 

Rabbt sH;;:d^h'ouTit"°'''' r" t''"''^^''"^- 
£?iJrtivxrB^irrc'^^^^^^ 





A PRISONER'S STORY 

He himself took a torch from a slave's hand to ligl 
up the pitiful figure. " Look," he called down to tl 
crowd, " look at the poor fellow ! " 

" To the gallows with him ! To the cross wi 
him ! " shouted the crowd. 

" If," said Pilate, preserving his ironical tone, 
you do not want to miss your Passover spectac 
go out there ; no fear of criminals not being crucifi< 
to-day. What do you say to Barabbas, the dese 
king ? O ye men of Jerusalem, be satisfied with o 
king." • 

" We want to see this Jesus crucified, ' raged t 
people. 

" But why, by Jupiter ? I cannot see that He 
guilty of anything." 

One of the High Priests came up to him. 
"If you set free this blasphemer, this demagogi 
who, so He says, intends to redeem the Jew; 
nation from bondage, who has the devil's eloquer 
with which to influence the masses, if you let t 
man go about among the people again, then you ; 
your Emperor's bitterest enemy. Then we shall i 
for a governor who is as true to the Emperor 
we are!" 

" You would be more imperial than Pontius Pilate 
He threw out that sentence to them, measuring th 
figures with contempt. Whenever Rome touched a 
of their chartered rights, they seethed with anger ; 1 
whenever they needed power to accomplish so 
purpose hostile to the people, they cringed to Roi 
They recognised no people and no Emperor; th 
Temple-law was all in all to them. And they dai 
to advise the Governor to be imperial! But ' 
crowd murmured angrily. The storm of passion \ 
increasing in the courtyard. A thousand voi 



OF THE CROSS 



283 



threatening, shouting shrilly, demanded the Naza- 
rene's death. At that moment his wife sent to Pilate 
and reminded him of her dream. He was inclined to 
set the accused free at once. Then in the dim light 
of the torches and the dawning day, a dark mass 
appeared above the heads of the people. It was one 
of those criminals' stakes with the cross-beam like 
those erected out at Golgotha, only more massive 
and imposing. They had dragged the cross here, 
and when it became visible to the crowd, they broke 
out in heightened fury: "Crucify Him I Crucify 
Him! Jesus or Pilate!" 
"Jesus— or Pilate?" Was that what they shouted? 
" Jesus or Pilate ? " was re-echoed from courtyard 
to courtyard, from street to street. 

" Do you hear, Governor ? " one of the High Priests 
asked him. " There is nothing else to be done ! You 
see, the people haven't been asleep to-night. They 
are mad ! " So saying, he seized the staff of justice, 
and offered it to Pilate. He had turned pale at the 
sight of the raging mob. He signed with his hand 
that he wished to speak. The tumult subsided 
sufficiently for his words to be heard, and he shouted 
hoarsely : 

" I cannot find that this man has committed 
any crime. But you wish to crucify Him. So be it, 
but His death is on your consciences ! " Purposely 
following the Jewish custom, he washed his hands in 
a bowl, so that those who could not hear him might 
see; then holding them up, all dripping wet, before 
the people, he exclaimed : " My hands are clean 
trom His blood. I accept no responsibility." He 
seized the staff, broke it in two with his hands, and 
threw the pieces at Jesus's feet. 

Then there arose a storm of jubilation : " Hail to 







il 



1»f 






I 



284 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CRO 

thee, Pilate! Hail to the Governor of the gn 
Emperor! Hail to the great Governor of 1 
Emperor ! " 

The High Priests humbly bowed before him, a 
the guards seized the condemned man. 



i{ 



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1 C (' ' I 



I' T^ 



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•It 



•i \.!' 



'% 



il • 



II 



CHAPTER XXXIV 



The big cross, carried by insolent youths, swung to 
and fro above the heads of the people. Every one 
tried to get out of the way of the sinister thing • if 
a nian. joking, thrust his neighbour towards it he 
pushed quickly back into the crowd with a shriek 
And the unceasing cry went on : « Hail to Pontius 
1 ilate ! To the cross with the Nazarene » " 

Jesus was led from the hall into the courtyard 
where His guards had to protect Him from the fury' 
of the mob. They led Him up to the cross. 

tTu '' ^° ^'^^^"^•°" ^^" take place here ! Away 
with Him No execution can be permitted here ! " 
To Golgotha ! " 

When the youths found that they would have to 
take the cross back to where they had fetched it, they 
let It fall to the ground, so that the wood made a 
groaning noise, and then ran off. 

voic^s'^ T^ T^ "'' °^" "'^'^ ' " ^^°"t«d several 
voices. The plan commended itself to the guards • 

they unbound His hands, and placed the cfoss on 

Sat llTm .k"' T^^''''' ""'^' ^^^ '^^^- They 
beat Him with cords like a beast of burden; He 

ottered aJong with trembling steps, carrying the 

stake on His right shoulder, so that one arm of the 

nanas. The long stake was ' 



9BS 



dragged along the 



286 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



H 



ii: 



U h 



\y 



LX: . 



ground. They had tied a cord round His waist 

which they led Him. They pulled Him along 

violently that He stumbled, and often fell. 1 

crowd which followed tried to do everything tl 

could to hurt Him. So Jesus tottered along, bov 

under the heavy weight of the wood, His gc 

covered with street mud, His head pierced by 

thorns so that drops of blood trickled down 

unkempt hair and over His agonised face. Ne 

before was so wretched a figure dragged to the pi 

of execution, never before was a poor malefactor 

terribly ill-treated on his way to death. And ne 

before had such dignity and gentleness been seer 

the countenance of a condemned man as in tha 

this man. Some women who had got up early 

of curiosity to see the pro-session stood crow 

together at the street corner. But when they 

it their mood changed, and they broke out into 1 

lamentation over the unheard-of horror. Jesus ra 

His trembling hand towards them, as if He wis 

to warn them : " While your husbands murder 

you are melted to tears. Do not lament for 

lament for yourselves and for your children, who 

have to suffer for the sins of their fathers!" 

of the women, heedless of the raging mob, tore 

white kerchief from her head, and bent down to ] 

who was carrying the cross in order to wipe the b 

and perspiration from His face. When she got 1 

to her house and was about to wash the cloth 

saw on it— the face of the Prophet. And it see 

as if kindness and gratitude for her service of 

looked out from its features at her. The wome 

came running up to see the miracle, and to ha 

to get the cloth that bore such a picture for tl 

selves. But its possessor locked it up in her roo 



*f1 



OF THE CKOSS 287 

When Jesus fell beneath the cross for the third 
t.me, He was unable to get up again. The guards 
tugged and pulled Him ; the Roman soldiers who 
accompanied them wero too proud to carry the cross 
for this wretched Jew. So the crowd was invited to 

along. The only answer was scornful laughter. A 
hard-featured cobbler rushed out of a neighbouring 
house, and, almost foaming at the mouth with rage 
demanded that the creature should be removed from 
before his door. " Customers will be frightened away !" 

sol'ri^! "''""/*'' ''"* » moment," said one of the 

T^ZirT7 ■°, "'^ '■'"'" """"• ""^"^ breast 
neaved in short, violent spasms. 

strlnr.i!''^ "l^^^" '"""S a leathern strap and 
truck the exhausted man. He pulled Himself 

Xa? 'Arf'' '° *°"«a fewsteps farther. An 
old man, full of years and very lonely, stood by He 

will" He It *' '""' ""^^^ ^-' «^'-2h" 
iZ L !, "5^ '" ^ if Jerusalem was ascend- 
;n rront of the cVbllrar'saM^^'lir":^ 
grandson of Uriah I You refuse a br^ef ::s"^o 
""" PO' t of poor creatures? You yourself will 
™Cto Thf r""^- ^°" ^'" «P«"W hum n 

yo:u2it]zr''''^'" "^ ""'"^' ■•" ^™- 

sitfeVakrf^T' u""'' '~''""°"- 'he citizen, was 
he tS s^ s?" i.^"^- thinking over his fate and 
whiTh he had r *^ "^^ ''"'° *e wilderness, from 

foisting t': word Tffn T'"l '"" """-"■ he had, 
ng tne word of the Prophet from whom he had 



i 



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if 



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«i: 



288 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CRC 

sought happiness, made many changes in his ^ 
of life. Impossible as it had then seemed, m 
had become possible. He had emancipated 
slaves, broken up his harem, given the over! 
of his possessions to the needy, and disper 
with all show. And yet he was not happy- 
heart V as bare and empty. He was pondering 
matter when the shouting of the crowd reached 1 
from the street. What was happening so early ? 
looked down, saw the spears of the soldiers gli 
above the ^people's heads, and noted how one of 
malefactors who was to be executed that day v/as b< 
led out. Simeon was turning away from the disag 
able sight when he saw that the man was carrying 
cross Himself, and how, ill-treated by the guards, 
became weaker every momr .t, so that the cross str 
noisily against the stones. In a flash he understc 
Without stopping to think, he hurried into the str 
and pushed his way to the tortured creature in oi 
to help Him. And when he looked into the poor m 
worn face, down which a tear ran, he was so overcc 
with pity that he placed himself under the cross, t 
it on h' shoulder, and carried it along. The crc 
howled ; insult' -^nd mud were thrown at Simc 
He paid no heed, he scarcely observed it. He 
absorbed in what he was doing ; he only though' 
his desire to help the unhappy creature who stagge 
along beside him to bear His load. A wondr 
feeling stirred in him, an eager gladness that he ! 
never known before. All the joy of his life was 
to be compared with this bliss , he would have 111 
to go on for ever and ever by the side of this M 
helping Him to bear His load and loving Him. 

Is that it? Is that what men call life? To 
where Love is and to do what Love enjoins? 



■ii 



3 CROSS 



1 his way 
ed, much 
pated his 

overflow 
dispensed 
appy — his 
lering the 
,ched him 
irly? He 
ers glitter 
)ne of the 
v/as being 
: disagrce- 
rrying the 
uards, He 
OSS struck 
iderstood. 
the street, 
e in order 
)oor man's 
overcome 
;ross, took 
'he crowd 
t Simeon. 

He was 
hought of 
staggered 
wondrous 
at he had 
!"e was not 
lave liked 
this Man, 
[im. 

? To be 
ins? 



CHAPTER XXXV 



fatival to orrherl^" "'"""''"■" '°' ">« holy 

implore Hf^;oeS°:„''her"""" '" ^°''' '° 
'"tore to Him the felth nf h- """^ '°"- """^ '° 
journeyed thr^ujh W • H,s ancestors. As she 

"f "-- day onf ptt wh!^^ ^fT ^"^ "'°"K'" 
way to BethlehT™ F^'uV '""^ ''*'' travelled that 

incLcefvabtthLT Lfh 'jf"' ^^^P""''"^ °^""= 

^ She reached ''"vf^^htre.teh' ^'"" '"'"■ 
dry. It waQ fK^ 1 7"*=^ cne earth was gray and 

settled when ^ev*^!"" ■" which Adam and Eve had 
'"ought ortHe^JZlTu °'" °' ''"^'''^- She 
and • th her m7T '''"''''■*" °^ ""r first parents 
°f A a* ':hoT^->';-; -.dear little desc'endalt 

'o share earth", sorr^^'^^ 7°=««. ''"d yet had 
stood sadly by a hSl ^ ^"'"y- ^^e boy 
Lost Parachse A thif^' ^^. ^"^"^ °^" '"'° the 
Tree of Knowlei: I^S^ *"f ' T""'"^ "^ '"e 
>""»■ He broke off ^ K u . ^'''' *"'' *« sorry for 

you out of Paradi,, m ' . ""* '* something for 
't Will take r^'t ,„d T'"' ""! ^"^^ '" '^e ground, 
""til the thr^e of ^"1^ ^"^ P"''"" ""resh seeds 
trunk." '■orLv '> "'^"'^ is built out of its 

'"e Messia?;?hfo eT';aheX'~"'- ^-'^ '^"^ '» 
aivay. "e . sighed Mary, and she moved 

20 






! - 






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If^^liii 




290 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



When after her tiring journey she reached the 
one morning, she found the people streaming 
the roads and streets in one direction. She askc 
innkeeper what was happening. He replied bj 
ing her if she did not also wish to go and se 
execution. 

"God forbid!" answered Mary; "happy a 
who are not obliged to go." 

" Look, there they come I " exclaimed the 
teeper in glad surprise. "They'll come past 
i really believe it's the Messiah-King ! Oh, 1 
have let out my windows for a silver groat apie< 
The woman from Galilee wanted to go bad 
the house, but she was pushed aside and carriet 
the crov/d into the narrow street, where sudden 
stood before Him I Before Jesus, her son ! Wb 
saw His mother His little remaining strength i 
for<?ook Him, but He managed to keep His feet 
turned to her with a look of unspeakable sadnei 
love, a brief look in which lay all that a son 
have to say to his mother at such a meeting, 
they pushed Him on with blows and curses. 

Mary stood as if turned to stone. Her eye 
tearless, her head in a whirl, her heart scarcely 
"That is what God has prepared for me!" Th; 
all she could think, as, unwilling, bewildered, si 
carried along by the crowd. Everything seeme( 
in a blue darkness, yet stars danced before her 
At length the procession emerged throug 
vaulted double gateway into the open. A 
pale light lay ove. the barren land. The 
hill stood out clear on the right. A great st 
there. Busy workmen were digging deep ho 
the top, others were preparing the stakes f( 
desert robbers. Those wild creatures were a 



OF THE CROSS gOl 

-«« the lean, br^tll^,^^^ I^'^ "T "^"'^ 
eyed Dhmas. The forn*er^t ^ P*'^' '""*""■ 
his hawk's eyes clench!^ » ' ? ?* "°''"<' hta with 
his fetters. The X J' '^^l^*"? '""«' '° """t 

his "nke^pthair htgatout'h m rf h" '°7' "«' 
come as far as the towJ/^r Tk . ""■ ^''^'P'es had 

withdrawn in ,e ror alT bu. r' h 'T *""'' ''« ^ad 
for Peter had dSdei tn It"' ''f *""' *'«' P^'ter. 
follower of Jesusl?Na,a eth t"°u'^^' '""""f » 
"fe But no one trouuld ; ?''' i' ~'' '""' •"'= 
Grangers. The disc7pl« hJ ^ '^""?" »'»« 'he 
behind the rockv ml„^ 1 '"=" •''«'« slinking 
foHorn, the ve^'^a^e " hV "? '°°''^'' ="'i'=-t an! 
"ge against the tracer LhT"' ""'' '"*°''e'' «he,r 
*ere softened by the ,°2 of thr" "" ^''"'''' '"ey 
'e^rding him only as an ob^'':^^'^'^'"* <=™"'«. 
Simeon carried fh* ^ ""jccc o! horror. 

And when h^td;;:: 1°.*^ *°P °f '"e hili. 
""0 the face of the malefZ^ i '°°'«^'' °"« again 

ntd'^^ "^ XlSt;tr:^,^,^''s-^ "p 

«- -rng-trntiTfe'-^^^V-^^^ '^^^^ 
»«nt attention t! Hrworif K^t ''"'' **" 1»M 
"one of them. NowheCn/ . ''"^'' '"°''e°"en 
ever lived according to otLu """^'^''nd that who- 
attain inward happlnl " iTrf''""« °/""^ ""^n «>ust 
'"1,' teaching thafthe 4ntL to^" °" ''"°'"" "^ 

The captain ordered Si„ ^ executed ? 

executioners Ia,d h^ds „„ t ™°"" """y- ^wo 
j;^«y His garments HeThrll' '" °"^" '° ^'"P 
*'eaven,then closed h7s el? °j" '""" ^'ance to 

'"" '"""- *ey could not ^T.'/?«!" ^- ■*. 



agree who had won i 



it 



292 



A PRISONER'S STORY 




•Fi:i 



iltillii 



they diced for it. Then they accused each othe 
cheating, and fought afresh. Up came Schobal, 
dealer in old clothes, and pointed out with a grin \ 
it was not worth while to c.ack their skulls ov« 
poor wretch's old coat. The gown was n 
bloody ; it was not worth a penny ; bit in orde 
end a dispute between his brave countrymen he w< 
offer four pence, which they could divide in p 
among them. The coat was delivered over to Schc 
He went up and down in the crowd with the garn 
It was the coat of the Prophet who was being 
cuted ! Who wanted a souvenir of that day ? 
would seU the coat for ti:e half of its value ; it m 
be bought for twelve pence ! 

A man brought long iron nails in a basket. 
Nazarene was not to be tied, but nailed, becaus< 
had once said that He should descend from the c 
When they noticed that Jesus wa^ nearly swooi 
they offered Him a refreshing drink of vinegar 
myrrh. He refused it with thanks, and wher 
began to sink down the executioners caught Him 
laid Him on the cross. 

Suddenly the crowd drew back. Many die 

want to see what was going on. They were d 

They had never dreamed of this. The gentl 

with which He bore all the torture, the scorr 

death before His eyes, this heroic calm weighed 

a mountain on their hard hearts. Those whc 

formerly despised Him now wanted to hate Hir 

they could not. They were powerless before 

overwhelming gentleness. What a sound 1 Tl 

a hammer beating on iron I " How the blood spi 

whispered some one. Two hammers hit the 

and at each blow heaven and earth trembled. 

crowd held itb oreath, and not a sound was 






h other of 
hobal, the 
I grin that 
Us over a 
.•n and 
I order to 
\ he would 
: in jjeacc 

Schobal. 
B garment, 
being exc- 
day? He 
; ; it mi^'ht 

jket. The 
>ecausc lie 

1 the cross, 
swooning, 

Inegar and 

when He 

it Him and 

ny did not 

vere dumb. 

gentlcn^"^s 

scorn, the 

eighed like 

;e who had 

te Him, but 

before this 

1 1 That of 

)od spir^^'" 

it the ! • 

ibled. **ie 

I was heard 



OP THE CROSS 283 

wa,hea.^ ■•"'!:= crowd ^, caj'elor^, ^"^ 
.o.a h had pu,H«, thin.%^r,a'S: 
prouncl. The ma.«w of people drew awav m,^r« i 

nis neck to as to ue over the other.,' heads ^ 

Z-'. ""!' '"*~' "P "'"' «•<=" »'nk aga ;, 
capta,„., order, could be heard plainly and cic 

suke w«?" ".r' "P ""'eht A.'^firstthT 
fS' u*" "" "'«»-'«a'>>s appeared on wh. 

torn ooen fh« ki j '"® *^^"^^ ^nd A wer» 

ground And fro J^h r ''"• ?"?, ''~PP«'' °" "-e 
this loud cry wis hea* '^0 P .'2"" T ""^ "°^^' 

-oKt rdr;;^Th ■ c;^urtr *T 

bours to repeat it .. {T ^^"^^ ^^'^^^^^heir neigh- 
enemies? FoT Hf. . • ^' P^'^°" ^°'' ^'^ 
His enemies?" """"^'"'^ "« '^ Playing for 

;;Then--then He cannot be human!" 

-orned,beaTc7ucified°H^^^^^^^ ^^-"^-ed, 

of His enemies and nardnn Ak ^,^" ^^'"^ "^ '^inks 

-•d- He is indeed'thf^hn'^^ ' I "^^ '^ '^ ^'^ "^ 
He was the Christ r -^ ' ^'"^^^^ thought 

Christ I said so only last Sabbath I ' 




29« 



A PRISONER'S STORY 




Wii:i|!'- 



m 



The voices grew louder. Schobal, the old cl< 
dealer, pushed about in the crowd and offered 
Messiah's coat for twenty pence. 

" If He is the Messiah," shouted a Rabbi hoai 
"let Him free Himself. He who wants to 
others and cannot help Himself is a poor so 
Messiah." 

" Now, Master," exclaimed a Pharisee, " if 
would rebuild the shattered Temple, now's the 
Come down from the cross, and we'll believe in 
The man on the cross looked at the two mocke 
deep sadness, and they became silent. Sudde 
passage in the Scriptures flashed into their mi 
• He was wounded for our transgressions ! " 

When they had all drawn back from the cross 
the executioners were preparing to raise up tht 
desert robbers, the woman who had swooned, 
ported by the disciple John, tottered up to thi 
cross and put her arms round its trunk so the 
blood ran down upon her. So infinite was her 
that it seemed as if seven swords had piercec 
heart. Jesus looked down, and how muffled wj 
voice in which He said: "John, take care ol 
mother! Mother, here is John, your son!" 

A murmur arose in the crowd: " His mother 
that His mother ? Oh, poor things ! And the 1 
some young man His brother? The poor creat 
Look, how He turns to them as if He would co 

them." 

Many a man passed his hand over his eye 
women sobbed aloud. And a dull lamentation 1 
to go through the people — the same people \vh 
so angrily demanded His death. And they t 
together. 

" He can't suffer much longer." 



tu;n 



)ld clothes 
offered the 

31 hoarst'l)', 
ts to help 
)or sort r)f 

e, " if you 
's the time. 
;ve in you." 
mockers in 
Suddenly a 
leir minds , 

; cross, ard 
up the two 
x>ned, sup- 
to the tall 
so that the 
IS her pair 
pierced her 
\ed was the 
;are of My 

lother ? Is 
d the hand- 
r creatures ! 
uld comfort 

is eyes, the 
ation began 
pie who had 
they talked 



OF THE CROSS 295 

"No, I've had some experience IW hA.„ i, 
every Passover. But this tSne— " ^" '""'^ 

" Ovl'^H^ h"'H ^'^V' ^^'"^" °" '^^ *^b'«t.» 

•• Inri ' wl"*"^ ^ ^^ ''^^' '''"^^ ^° have gone." 
inri! exclaimed somebody. 

„' i."/' ' Somebody calls out ' Inri.'" 

Those are the letters on the tablet." 
_ But the man's name's not Ini; " 

PiIafrM!"S!il''/^"^"'"'' "^ f"'""- That is 
" Iten'i talk tn r ^T'""" ^" /«'fe<"*'«." 
" W^ H h ,"■*' """"^^ Latin tongue." 

Jew;" ^^ "'=''""'= ^'^"^ of Nazareth. King of the 

for" rh^wttlb^"' ^'Tt '"t ""■"<"'•■• '»'•" ""o^er, 
and left oT hT-h Tt ***" ''°'*'«' "P •» 'he right 

" I .■'uppose"nefeh W th.^ "f" " *''"'«' f-^" = 
"ho ge't ex ™ut'S t«ir .r "* °''"' "', *°'^ 
Ju-P from the cris n^h " !, ^'^ T «'«»''""B^ 
"retches will idoHr;o™r' "^ """' '"'' 'he 

^^Z ZZ::^ ^^^- Head 

^Pent life, he turned^^ H- "^ u" >*""'"« '■°'- ^s iH- 

and ChrisV A"d thef re?"'",^'''''"^'' "«^''="' 
"hich Jesus looked at him f "^ «P««'°n with 
through the cnWna? h«k =""°''M'"'^''«' Passed 
"OSS gazed at him wfh i?^ j- " "" "»" °" *e 
it wa., the *ever ;o^^""'^'''"g«y«-l«yGod!_ 
li«'e child h,;;; tn'^h :[^°«r !l°'^ ■'»'' -"ich a 
Dismas beoan f7 " ""^ "'^J's of his vo..fh 

fromheav^rw^^votrt?" 1'""' " L"* y°" -e 

And Jesus ^{TtlZTTtZ^'''^''"'^'"''-" 

"*™ • ^'lere is mercy for all 




296 



A PRISONERS STORY 



;/^' 



J»*i 



who repent! To-day, Dismas, you and I wi 
together at the Heavenly Father's home." 

" He is from heaven ! " was heard in the cr 
" He is from heaven ! " One of the Roman sol 
threw his spear away, and exclaimed in imn 
excitem. nt : " Verily, He is the Son of God ! " 

" The Son of God I The Son of God I Set 
free! It is the Son of God who hangs on the cr 
The cry rolled through the crowd like the dull 
of an avalanche; like a shriek of terror, likt 
inward consciousness of a fearful mistake, the 
fearful that had been made since the world b 
He who hangs yonder on the cross is the Sc 
God. Far below in a cleft of the rock is a 
sinner. He struggles up to his feet, holding on 
his lean hands, he looks up to the cross with re 
eyes. A prayer for mercy wells up from his 
like a bloody spring. And beside him a w( 
kneels and folds her hands against the cross, 
she who thus stands under the cross wrings 
hands, and implores mercy for her child. 

The letters I.N.R.I. over the cross begin to g 
And a voice is heard in the air: "Jesus 
Redeems Ill-doers." 

" The Son of God ! The Son of God ! " Th 
went on without ceasing. "The Son of God oi 
cross ! " 

" The Son of God's coat I A hundred gold f 
for the coat!" shrieked old Schobal, lifting the 
ment up on a stick like a flag. The dealer swo 
that flag, for its value had risen a thousandfold 
hour. " A hundred gold pieces for the Son of ( 
coat ! " But it was high time that the dealer i 
himself scarce, for the people of Jerusalem 
enraged at a man who wanted to do busine 



I I will be 



OP THE CROSS 207 

presence of the dyinff Saviour tu ^ . 

citizens of Jerusalem I ' ^^' ^°°^' P'°"^ 

Not a High Priest was to be seen Th.„ u a u 
ffone awav Th« u^ . "' ^ "^Y "^d a 

^nAm" •°'"' °"* "'°"'«'' «' him. "You 

charge before the rf,t=7 f ^^" ''"" P™™ ""is 
of the UwTroulht H {^^"J^"'' ^« "pounders 

They have ever ^^^1 ™' ," "*" *e foreigners. 

one know! whoTucifie/ h" "^ T ''u"'"'"" ' ^''^ 
people." "^"^ """ »' the desire of the 

The :o"« te'rever" i "', '""""f '^'^'^ -■"->'•• 
IViests who hlZZ. ''f ' '' "'^^ 'he High 
They are gum^^"'"'''' °" 'he people and judge! ! 

"Silence I He still lives ! " 

All looks were centred on the cross 

The captaTn order^ » ''^' ' '^ ""'^^'y ' " 
vinegar, and reached ^^toH^"^' *° ^ '^'^^'^ '" 
dyh,g man might'^pr ^o^e" " '""' '" '"^^ '"^ 

-onrth^roTkrs^k ''", 5"'^' """'"^ '-- "^y 
clhows on the ground '^'!.''' ""''• ^"PP^^ing her 
Saviour! My sins "■ ' ^^ ^"^ '°^">'^ "O Saviour. 




M ! 




I i 



I , 




208 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



He looked once again at His dear ones. Then ¥ 
lifted His head quickly and uttered a cry to Heavei 
" Father, receive My soul ! My Father ! Do n 
forsake Me ! " He looked upwards, gazed at tl 
heavens with wide-opened eyes, then His he? 
dropped and fell on His breast. 

John sank to the ground, covering his face with I 
hands. All was over ! 

The crowd was almost motionless. They sto 
and stared, an« their faces were white. The toi 
walls were dun-coloured, the shrubs were gray, t 
you' buds were pale and closed. 

A lUStreless sun stood in the sky like a moon, a 
its shadows were ghostly. Terrified rooks and b 
flew around, and hovered about the cross in t 
horrible twilight. Rocks on the hills broke aw 
and skulls rolled down the slope. As for the peoj 
they seemed to have lost the power of speech, tl 
stood dumb and looked at one another. 

« Something has happened," said an old man 

himself. 

The crowd began to move, uncertainly at first, tl 

with more animation and noise. 

« What has happened ? " asked a bystander. 

" My friend, what has happened now has thrc 
the ./orld ofif its balance. I do not know wha 
is, but it has thrown the world off its balance. I 
is' not the end of the world, then it must be 

beginning." 
" Inri ! Inri ! " shouted the voice of a shuddei 

lunatic. . 

Then there was a general shout. "What is 
It is dark ! I've never been so terrified in all 
days." 



'hen He 
iieaven : 
Do not 
at the 
is head 

with his 



5y stood 
he town 
jray, the 

lOon, and 
and bats 
i in this 
ke away, 
le people, 
ech, they 

i man to 

first, then 



'TV 

I 



|S 



'# 



;r. 




IS thrown 




V what it 




ice. If it 




ist be its 




huddering 




hat is it? 




in all my 


M 




'^■mm 




M 



OF THE CROSS 299 

" Look at the cross ! It's growing longer ! Higher 
ever higher, higher ! I can't see the top of it • It'l a 
giant cross!" h^'". iisa 

Temple. The curtain of the Holy of Holies has 

^Z T ^" '^"'"' ^"'^'^^' •■" '^^ ^-"'etery. the 
tombs have opened and the dead wrapped in their 
white shrouds have risen from them." 

" The end of the world ! " 

" The beginning of the world ! " 

"Jesus Christ I" 

J JESUS CHRIST!" rusties through the crowd like 
the spring breezes over the desert. The words sound 
luMh' K ."^"'! of Jerusalem, they sound through- 
out the broad land of J ud^a. these words of all power. 
They kindle a fire which has lighted up the universe 
until the present day. 

His dear and faithful ones assembled at the cross 
where the dead Master hung. There are more of 

ZH uVri "^^'^ yesterday, among tnem even 
some who had shouted in the night: "Crucify Him <» 
The disciples stood there silent, making no lamenta- 

MagdaJen by him. A marvellous quiet had come 

'Ho J ..'"'u' '° '^^' '^'y ^'^'^ themselves: 
How can this be? Is not our Jesus dead?" 

still Hves"' '"' ^'"''^ "'°^ "^^ '' -^ - if He 

"He in us, and we in Him," said John. 

askeH T ^^'^^°}Z"'^'^ was restless. Hesitatingly he 

ked James if he had not also understood ffim to 

say. father, do not forsake Me." But Tames 

rotners. He went away from the cross to seek out 



$ 



300 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



■, J 'I 




i % 







I ■ 



Judas. He would tell him that in dying the Mast 
had forgiven His enemies, he would tell Judas 
the Saviour's legacy ! Mercy for sinners ! 

Since the early hours of the morning when tl 
Master had been condemned to death in tl 
Governor's house, Judas had wandered aimless 
about. He tried to surrender himself to the capta 
as a false witness and a spy, as one who sold mi 
for gold. He was laughed at and left alone. Th 
he went to one of the High Priests to swear that h 
statements had not been so meant ; that his Mast 
was no evil-doer, but rather the Messenger of Gc 
who would destroy His enemies. He had n 
intended to betray Him, and he would return t 
traitor's pay to the Pharisee. The latter shrugg 
his shoulders, saying that it was no concern of his ; 
had given no money and would receive none. Th 
Judas threw the silver pieces at his feet and hurri 
away. His long hair waved in the wind. He slui 
along behind the town walls in order to get 
advance of the procession and let himself be impal 
at Golgotha instead of the Master. But he was t 
late ; he heard the strokes of the hammer. He we 
down into the valley of Kedron. Not a soul was 
be seen there, every one had gone to the place 
execution. Judas was thrown aside, even by t 
gaping crowd, abandoned as a traitor. Frightf 
inconceivable, was the thing he had done! Ah 
why had He not revealed Hinself? He sto 
patiently, gentle as a lamb before the judges, a 
bore the cross as no one had ever done before. Coi 
that be it after ?' " Not to strive agamst on 
enemies, to suffer . fate a^ the will of God, to 1 
down one's life for .ne tidings of the Father— w 
that glory the mission of the Messiah ? " And I ? 



OF THE CROSS 



301 



expected something else of Him. And I made a 
mistake, greater than all the mistakes of all the 
fools put together. And now I am thrust out of 
the fellowship of righteous men. and thrust out 
of the fellowship of sinners. There is pardon 
tor the murderer, but not for the traitor. He 
Himself said : Better that such a man had never 
been born. Others dare to atone for their sins 
in caves of the desert, dare to expiate their crimes 
with their blood— but I am cast out of all Love 
and all expiation for ever and ever." Such were 
the endless laments of Judas. He wandered to 
and fro behind walls and among bushes ; he hid 
hiniself h -^-^ -^c all the day long. Then suddenly 
It flashed on m: "It is unjust. I believed in 
Him. I believed in Him so implicitly. Is such 
trust thrown away ? Can the Divine Man cast aside 
such a trust? No, it is not so, it is not sol" 

His fate was decided by this shattering of his last 
hope. When it was dark he slunk past a farm. 
Hopes hung over the walls; he pulled one off and 
hurried to the mountain. The sun was setting 
behind Jerusalem, over the heights, like a huge. red. 
lustreless pane of glass. Once more for the last time 
his eye sought the light, the departing light. And a 
cross stood out large and dark against the red circle ; 
the tall cross at Golgotha right in the centre of the 
gloomy sun. Gigantic and dark it towered against 

tJtZ'T. '^^T'"'^-^'''"^^^' The despairing 
heart of Judas could not endure it. With a savage 

He had '''"' T ? " ^^-''''- J^"^^^ ^^^ behind him. 
cloak and"" i"'^^' '^'""^ ^^^ ^^°P^' h^d ^aved his 
ctme fro JTh m''" •■ " '' '' '' J^"^- Brother. I 

Mnners. Mercy for all who repent. Listen." Almost 



» 1 







; ) 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROI 

breathless he reached the fig-tree. Arms and le 
hung down lifeless, the mouth drawn in, the tong 
protruding from the lips. The body swung to a 
fro in the evening breeze. The wretched man h 
not waited for the Saviour's pardon. 

Towards the end of that same day the old mar 
the East, who came from the desert where gr 
thoughts dwell, the weary old man who called do 
twice the curse of everlasting unrest on the gra 
son of Uriah, went to a stonecutter in Jerusal 
He thought it time to order his tombstone. And 
it were to be cut the letters " I.N. R.I." 

"Did you also belong to the Nazarene?" as: 
the stonecutter. 

" Why do you ask that ? " 

" Because it is the inscription on His cross." 

" It is the inscription on my grave," said the 
man, "and it means: 'In Nirvana Rest I.'" 




CHAPTER XXXVI 



When all was over, Joseph of Arimathea, a blunt, 
outspoken disciple of Jesus, went to Pilate, the 
Governor, to ask him that the rophet's body might 
be buried that same evening. 

" Have His legs been broken ? " Pilate inquired of 
him. 

" Sir, that is not necessary. He is dead." 
" I do not believe you." 

"It is quite true, sir. The captain pierced his 
side. 

"I have been warned about you," said Pilatr 
roughly. "I shall send a guard to watch the 
grave." 

" As your lordship pleases." 

" The man said that He would rise from the dead 
on the third day. It is likely that His friends will 
help Him!" 

Joseph drew himself up in front of the Governor 
and said : « Sir, what ground have you for such a 
suspicion ? Have we Jews proved ourselves so abso- 
lutely lawless in our fatherland ? Surely not so much 
so that this best of all men. this Divine Man, should 
have been condemned to death without a shadow of 
reason and His followers, too, treated with contempt 
as If they were cheats and body-snatchers " 

303 



f*»% 



'J •' 



,( - 



304 A PBISONEES STORY OF THE CROS 

•You have to thank your priests for that," sa 
Pilate, with cold indifference. 

« We know the breed," replied Joseph. " and so ^ 
you. But you are afraid of it. Our Master woi 
have made an end of it. But you are a broken re. 
Many of our great men have been ruined by Kom 
arrogance, but it was Roman cowardice that cost c 

Master His life." . ^ . 

The Governor started, but remamed impassi 
He signed with his hand : " Let me hear no more 
this affair. Do what you like with Him. Senti 
can be placed at the grave. I've had more tl 
enough of you and your Jews to-day." 

Thus the Arimathean was dismissed, ungraciou 
it is true, but with permission to bury the belo 

corpse. , ^ , , 

Meanwhile the torment of the two desert robl 

had ended. And Dismas was at last set free f 

Barabbas, to whom a demoniacal fate had chai 

him his whole life long. Jesus had come betv 

them, and had divided the penitent man from 

impenitent It is true that their bodies were thr 

into the same grave, but the soul of Dismas had fc 

the appointed trysting-place. . 

As soon as the Arimathean returned from his i 

view with the Governor, late as the hour was, j 

was unfastened from the cross and lowered tc 

ground with cloths. Then the body was ano 

with precious oil, wrapped in white hnen, and ca 

to Joseph's garden. They laid it m the gra^ 

the stillness of the night. 

A holy peace breathed o'er the earth, and the 
shone in the heavens like lamps at the repose c 
Lord. 



w^ in 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

In the night which followed this saddest of all sad 
days, Mary His mother, could not sleep. And y^t 
she saw a vision such as could not have been seen bv 
any one awake. "^ 

Crouching down, leaning against the stone, her eyes 
resting on the cross that rose tall and straightlnto 
the sky she seemed to see a tree covered withfed and 
«-h,te blossoms It was as if that branch of the T«e 

tttt^L^oitrft t^od°T tr^d -- 

a beautiful ro.,e.garden filled wTt^^Z ant^^d^' °' 
deeo ahvoc Tu , ^°^" ^''oni out a 

thejudges the kin Jfhe "°"'u^ "^ "'^ P«"»'-^hs, 
among fhemAbZm' ^T''""' *"'' *« P^^'-n'^ts 
Solomln and Dai za,h T' ■'"™'' »"^ J°^*Ph 

and Jehoiakfm an" c Jtfartt uV"''""' ^'^-»'- 
"-alking alone sun„r,- ,. ^^~»n old man, 

which liurVouw ri rf °" " ="■'■' fr°«> 

sprouted-Joseph, her husband. He 

21 8W 



I f 




306 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE ORO 

was In no hurry ; he stopped and looked round 

Mary. 
So all passed into Paradise. 
That was what Mary saw, and then day dawnec 



111 



II: 



!»^: 






CHAPTER XXXVIII 
i«T-'lr' *'"! ?' °"*'"- ""> Nazarene-s grave 

*nL tl. .^''•"f '!"• '""'' " *« Governor', bid- 
dmg, the captain had sealed it at eveiy end and 

comer Two fully-armed soldiers were stationed at 
the entrance with instructions to keep offVv™ 

"6Z"Z«Z "" '^T- ^"' *--">« 

intra day after the entombment, an incredible 
rumour ran through Jerusalem, n. nJ:^::Z 

women*irr""i °' """ ''»''• «> " *" "W- two 

n.:rui:{4dr,^rdette7Xr- 

white linen in which He h"d ^;':^^'^™ '^;*« 
l.nen bandages were lying at 0« eTe o^.; ^"^ 
their ends hangine do«m Tk ^ ^ *' ^rave, 
weep, thinking IZ one^d tlk:nr"" '^" *° 
but presently they saw a whUe rol^ ^'^^ ""'y' 
by, and heard him say: " He who,^ ^ '?*?'""B 
here. He lives, and gL witS ;^?o ^,';-,^ '»-' 
As if in some wild dream th^ ^ajiiee. 

back from the grave T^'^ ''°"'^" ''^^^'^^ 
^^ There was a man in the 




308 



A PRISONERS STORY 





^rdcn whom at first they took to be the gar 

them With youthful, beautiful, shining coi 
ance, immaculate, without wounds except the 
marks on the hands, He stood before them 
were terror-stricken. They heard Him say : *" 
be with you! It is I." As the sun was so brigl 
women held their hands a moment before their 
and when they looked up again, He was no lonj 
oc seen^ 

The Nazarene's grave was empty! Every 
made a pilgrimage from the town to see 
peoples mood had entirely changed since the c 
hxion. Not another contemptuous word was h 
some even secretly beat their breasts. The ] 

what had occurred. They could tell nothing 

At least confess that you fell asleep and thnt 
disciples stole Him." 

" Honoured sirs," answered one of the guards 
two reasons we cannot admit we fell asleep • ' i 
because it isn't true, and secondly, because we sh( 
be punished." 

Upon which one of the Temple authori 
observed: "But in spite of that, you can very y 
say so. For you have certainly fallen asleep m 
than once m your lives. And as for the puni 
ment, we 11 make it right with the Governor. Noth 
shall happen to you." 

The brave Romans thought it best to avoid a c 
pute with the authorities, and to say what the lat 
preferred to hear. So the tale went that the gua, 
had fallen asleep, and meanwhile the body had be 
removed by the disciples in order to be able to sa 
He IS risen." This was circulated on all hands, ar 



he gardener. 
me towards 
ig countcn- 
pt the nail- 
lem. They 
ay : " Peace 
o bright the 
J their eyes, 
»o longer to 

Everybody 
see. The 
! the cruci- 
was heard, 
The Hiffh 
:he guards 
hing. 
d thnt His 

jards, " for 
eep; first, 
we should 

luthorities 
very well 
eep more 
e punish- 
Nothing 



OF THE Ciioss 

•-"O'v what had becol oV .hi ''"'''''' ■■'P'"« bet 
he contra^,, w„e „i„^d f '''= "rp«. o,he«, on 

•^on of spirit, by ,ome divine ' ""^'^"^''^'^ "xalta" 
"""<)» with appallingly SvT"*^ *'"'='' «"='' thdr 

3^- - Sr^ ""■ ■"" 

When He said n«*u- "' '^^^y replied 

J'-'i.they ask d XtrV '' "'"'^''not under- 
Musalem. and did not l "" "'"''^ » 'trancerTn 
'"r^'- days. "°' ''"°- -hat had hap^;iJd" 

-'- had'done" IZ'T", "' •'""'' '"e iWhet 

forsaken ?h,,^'"'=^ ""at event they had ? t'"""^ 

rr'i.P-m^SH" '"^^ --'a/trhat 
P'^dee for His Od „ -^ "'°' '^ "« after deaVh ' 
'*«nal life R.T°^*e resurrection „f '" * 
story was L!;- ' ""* 'hree davsT» """" »"<) 

y was going about that f.. ^ "^ ""w up. a 

"''^^°""'"'~esTa^Lr^':! nails, 



Story 
I3ut 



^ay their hand, 



Is on 



310 



A PRISONER'S STORY 




w^n- 







those wounds, they would not believe it; no, H( 
must needs be like the rest of "^be dead. 

Then the stranger said : " 'f the Risen Man doe 
not appear to you as He ajpc ared to :ne womer 
it is because your faith is toe v/eak. li you do no 
believe in Him, you surely know from the prophecie 
how God's messenger must suffer and die, becaus 
only through that gate can eternal glory be reached. 
With such conversation they reached Emmauj 
where the two disciples were to visit a friend. Th 
stranger, they imagined, was going farther, but the; 
liked Him, and so invited Him to go to the hous 
with them : " Sir, stay with us ; the day draws ir 
it will soon be evening." 

So He went in with them. When they sat a 
supper, and the stranger took some bread, on 
whispered to the other : " Look how He breaks th 
bread I Is it not our Jesus ? " 

But when in joy unspeakable they went t 
embrace Him, they saw that they were alone. 

This is what the two disciples related, and no on 
was more glad to believe it than Schobal, the dealer 
he now asked three hundred gold pieces for the coa 
of the man who had risen from the dead. 

Thomas was less sure of the Resurrection. " Wh 
should He rise ? " asked the disciple. " Did He com 
to earth for the sake of this bodily life ? Did He nc 
rest everything on the spiritual life ? The true Jesu 
Christ was to be with us in the spirit." 

The disciples who had accompanied the Maste 
from Galilee went back to their own land filled wit 
that belief Things had somewhat changed then 
The condemnation of the Nazarene without an; 
proof of guilt had vastly angered the Galileanj 
His glorious death had terrified them. No, thi 



4 



OF THE CROSS 



311 



to 



countryman of theirs was no ordinary man ! They 
would now make up to His disciples for their ill- 
conduct towards Him. So His adherents were well 
received in Galilee, and resumed the occupations 
that they had abandoned two years before. John had 
brought His mother home, and gone with her to the 
quiet house at Nazareth. The others tried to 
accustom themselves to the work-a-day world, but 
they could do nothing but think of the Master, and 
wherever two or three of them were gathered 
together. He was with them in spirit One day they 
were together in a cottage by the lake. They 
spoke of His being the Son of God, and some who 
had looked into the Scriptures brought forwara 
proofs: the prophecies which had come to pass in 
Him, the psalms He had fulfilled, the miracles He 
had worked, and the fact that many had seen Him 
after His death. 

Suddenly Thomas said : " I don't much hold with 
all that Other things have been prophesied, the 
1 rophets, too, worked miracles, and rose after death. 
What good is it to me if He is not with us in the 
nesh ? 

They were much alarmed. They shook with terror. 
Not on account of the Master, but of their brother. 
^ut Thomas continued: "Why don't you name 
the greatest sign, the true sign of His divinity ? 
Why dont you speak of His Word about divine 
onship about loving your enemy, about redemp- 

T "^ .'° ""^^^ ^ ^"^ ^^y'"&' »t is what we have 

all expenenced. and still experience every hour. He 
freed us from worldly desires. He taught us love and 

for thi; W ^ '"^ ?"' '^'°"^^ ^''' ^''^' He died 
for that Word and will live in that Word. To me 




f'^ '11 




m 



*^ 









I if 



m^i 




kmim,B^ 



312 



A PRISONER'S STORY 



my brothers, that Divine Word is proof of His being 
the Son of God. I need no other." 

"Children!" said John. He was indeed th« 

youngest of them but he said, « Children ! Do no 

talk in such a way. Faith is the knowledge of th( 

heart. Are we not happy in our hearts that we founc 

the Father so near us, so true to us, so eternall: 

on our side, that nothing evil can befall us in th 

future? These bodies of ours will perish, but He is th 

resurrection, and he who believes in Him never die: 

He loved the children of men so dearly that He gay 

them His own Son, so that every one who believes i 

Him may live for ever. Therefore we^ are happ; 

because we are in God, and God is in us." 

Thus His favourite disciple spoke in wondroi 
enthusiasm. They then began to understand, ar 
to apprehend the immeasi-^ble significance of Hi 
who had lived in human < > mong them. 

Wherever they went, wh • -..er they did, His woi 
sounded in their ears. The promise that He wou 
follow them to Galilee was fulfilled. His spirit w 
with them, they were quite sure of that. But th 
spirit would not let them rest content with work- 
day life ; it was like yeast fermenting in their being, 
was like a spark kindled into a bright flame and t 
fiery tongues announced the glad tidings. They mi 
CO forth. None dared be the first to say so. t 
all at once they all declared : "We must go forth u 
the wide world." With no great preparation, w 
cloak and staff as they had travelled with Him, th 
went forth. First to Jerusalem, to stand once m. 
by His grave, and then forth in every direction 
preach Jesus, the Son of God. ... 

This brings me to the close of my vision. 1 y 
ily tell further of one meeting which was so rema 



oni 



OF THE CROSS 



313 



; being 

d the 
Do not 

of the 
; found 
;ernally 

in the 
[e is the 
'er dies. 
le gave 
ieves in 

happy, 

ondrous 
nd, and 
of Him 

[is word 
e would 
)irit was 
But that 
work-a- 
being, it 
, and the 
hey must 
/ so, but 
forth into 
ion, with 
lim, they 
nee more 
ection to 



I 



able and fraught with such vast results. One day 
when the disciples during their journey to Jerusalem 
were resting under the almond-trees, they saw a 
troop of horsemen in the valley. They were native 
soldiers with a captain. He seemed to have noticed 
the disciples, for he put spurs to his horse. The 
disciples were a little terrified, and Thaddeus, who 
had good eyes, said : " God be mercifu' to us, that's 
the cruel weaver!" 

" We will calmly wait for him," said the brethren, 
and they remained standing. When the rider was 
quite close to them, he dismounted quickly and 
asked : " Do you belong to Jesus of Nazareth ? " 
•* We are His disciples," they answered frankly. 
Then he kneeled before Peter, the eldest, spread 
his arms, and exclaimed : " Receive me, receive me ; 
I would become worthy to be His disciple." 

" But if I do not mistake, you are Saul who laid 
snares for Him?" said Peter. 

" Laid snares, persecuted Him and His," said the 
horseman, and his words broke swiftly from his lips. 
" Two days ago I rode out against those who said He 
had risen. Yet I was always thinking of this man 
who saw so strangely into men's minds. I thought of 
Him day and night, and of much that He had said. 
And as I was riding across the plain in the twilight, 
a light enveloped me, my horse stumbled, a white 
figure stood in front of me, and in the hand lifted 
towards Heaven was the mark of a wound. ' Who 
are you, to bar my way?' I exclaimed. And He 
answered, 'I am He whom you persecute ! ' It 
was your Master risen from the dead. 'Why 
persecute me, Saul? What have I done to you?' 
Your Jesus, the Christ, stood living before me ! Yes, 
men of Galilee, now I believe that He is risen. And 




314 A PRISONER'S STOBY OF THE CROS 

as, hitherto, I assailed His word, 1 will now help 1 
spread it abroad. Brothers! receive me! 

That is my picture of how Saul was converted n 
an apostle. He sent his horse back to the va^le 
and went himself gladly and humbly along w.th t 

Galileans to Jerusalem. . j .i,„ Mnnnt 

When, after some days, they reached the Mount 

Olives. Uence they had first looked on the met, 

polls, there, standing on the rocks, was J«"=- Jf' 

He stood, U as He had always been, and the d.scp 

felt e^ctty as they had in the times past when He v 

always with them. They stood round H>m in a c.r 

and He looked at them lovingly. And sudden^^ tl 

heard Him ask in a low voice : •' Do you love Me , 

■■ Lord," they answered, "we love You. 

He asked again: "Do you love J<ie? 

They said : " Lord, You know that we love Ym, 

Then He asked for a third time : "Do you love M 

And they exclaimed all together: "We can 

tell in words, O Lord, how we love You! 

"Then go forth. Go to the poor, and com 
them ; to the sinners, and raise them up. Go t. 
Ss and teach them all that 1 have told 
'C^ who believe in Me will be blessed. I am 
way the truth, and the life. I go now to My ta 
My 's^rit and My strength I leave to you : 1« 
the eyes, the word to the tongue, love to the h 

And mercy to sinners " 

Thus thev heard Him speak, and lo!— tnere 
no one there except the disciples. Two foot. 
were impressed on the stone. The heavens a 
::« stilf; they bowed their heads, ^en watche 
He ascended to the douds, how He hovered 
lYglt. how He went to the Father, to whom al. 
shall go through our Saviour, Jesus Christ. 






DROSS 

help to 

ted into 
• valley, 
with the 

^ount of 
e metro- 
. There 
disciples 
n He was 
1 a circle, 
enly they 
re Me?" 



JO. You." 
ioveMe?" 
^e cannot 

1" 

d comfort 

Go to all 

told you. 

I am the 

\liy Fathar. 

a : light to 

D the heart. 

-there was 
footmarks 
vens above 
atched how 
^ered in the 
om also we 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

My Father and my God I I thank Thee that Thou 
hast permitted me to behold the Life, the Passion, 
and the Resurrection of Thy Son, and to steep myself 
in His words and promises during this terrible time. 
In the torture of suspense, which is more dreadful 
than death, I have won courage from the great events 
of His life, and received consolation from the appear- 
ance of my Redeemer upon earth. My hope has 
been strengthened by the saints of old who repented. 
For the sake of the crucified Saviour, O Lord, put 
mercy into my King's heart. If it is God's will that 
I die, then let me die like Dismas. Only pardon me. 
In the name of Jesus, I implore Thee, O Father, for 
mercy ! Have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen. 



315 



it? 



i: 

5?! 





CONCLUSION 

Such is the story. It was written by a comr 
workman awaiting sentence of death in a prison i 
The last prayer was written exactly six weeks a 
his condemnation. 

Conrad began to feel a little frightened. He 
been so absorbed in his Saviour's story that he 
himself to be almost part of it. He had written i 
day, and dreamed of it all night. He had been in- 
stable at Bethlehem, he had wandered by the 1 
of Gennesaret, and spent nights in the wilderne 
Judoea. He had journeyed to Sidon, and across 
mountains to Jerusalem. He. a prisoner in 
and sentenced to death, had stood on the M 
of Olives, he had been in Bethany and suppe 
Jesus' side. But now he felt almost indifferei 
the thought. Had he not lived through that glo 
death at Golgotha ? All else sank into insigmfic 
beside that. It almost seemed to him as it ne 
passed beyond the veil. The Risen One poss. 
all h^s soul. He could not get away from all 
holy memories. Then suddenly came the tho' 
when death comes I must be brave. He 
membered a story his mother had once toid 
of a Roman executioner who. on receiving c 
to behead a young Christian, had been so over 
with pity that he had fainted. The youth had re 

316 



common 
>rison cell. 
eeks after 

. He had 
lat he felt 
•itten it all 
aeen in the 
' the Lake 
Iderness of 

across the 
er in gaol 
the Mount 

supped at 
different ro 
lat glorious 
significance 
s if he had 
2 possessed 
m all these 
le thought: 
;. He re- 
;e told 'him 
ving orders 
10 overcome 
, had revived 



A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 317 

him, and comforted him as bravely as if it has been 
his duty to die, as it was the executioner's to kill. 
But then Conrad told himself: you are a guilty 
creature, and cannot compare yourself with a saint. 
Would you be brave enough to act like that ? Would 
you? It is sweet to die with Jesus, but it is still 
sweeter to live with Him. 

The gaoler asked him if he would care to go out 
once more into the open air. 

Out into the air ? Out into the prison yard, where 
all the refuse was thrown ? No. He thanked him ; 
he would prefer to remain in his cell. It could not 
be for long now. 

" No ; it will not be for long now," said the old 
man. But he did not tell him that in the meantime 
the Chancellor had died of his wounds, although from 
the "old grumblei's" increased tenderness Conrad 
might have suspected that his case did not stand 
in a favourable light. 

^^ " If you are truly brave," the old man told him, 
"the next time you go out you shall walk under 
green trees." 

"But now? Not now?" Conrad thought of a 
reprieve, and grew excited. A red flush stained his 
cheeks. 

" No ; I did not mean that. You know the King is 
lar away. But it may come any time. I am waiting 
for It anxiously. You know, Ferleitner, after this I 
shall resign my post." 

.nf '^ J^l ""T^"^ *^^ P"^^* ^^"^e »"• He always 

gad God be with you!" It was his office to 
bring comfort, if only he had known how. As a 
rule he monk came in, wiping the perspiration from 
his brow with a coarse blue handkerchief, and loudly 



..Jivj 







Ji 



., :- :^ 



? 



'^.iK.'S -tfte%itI-U. 



318 A PBISONBB'S 8T0BY 

assuring the prisoner how P'^^-^^^^'^lJ/^Jf I 
ki< Mil But this time he was nervous ana in 
ea,p How did the prisoner look? Emacjated o 

kdeto„,his teeth prominent between fl«hle.h 
his eyes wide open, a wondrous fire burmng 
*"?*^you will never send t r me, my dear Ferleitm 

, hat »m: again unasked to see how you fa. 

you are not ill ? " „ ^ prisoner. 

" Has the sentence come ? "''*°/"l,'^„. . „ ^.^. 

.. Not that I know of." answered themonk . bul 
see I am disturbing you at your work. 

Conrad had neglected to P"* »*»y *^/h\" L 
had written, and so had to confess that he had U 

'"'?;:^:tittoodarktoseetowrit^here.; 

" You get accustomed to it. At tirst ii w 
but now it seems to get lighter and igh er. 

"So you've made your will at last? asivcu 
father, raising his eyebrows. He meant to 
humorous. 

::^r-:'tS'"You have something to leav 

« T have not. Another has. 

The fither turned over the sh«ts, read a line 
and there, shook hU shaven ^ead aj tt^e. and ^ 
•♦It seems to resemble the wew 
you been copying it from the G^sp^^^^^^ that's 
^ « No, I haven't got a New Testament. 

^•f^iirG^p^rvoXt'-o-foryo. 

°"!NotCac°t;".'we.r perhaps now and .h 
h,ve I've written what I could remember. 
be responsible for the errors. 



OF THE CROSS 



310 



•• My curiosity grows," cried the father. " May I 
read it?" 

" It's not worth your trouble, but I knew of nothing 
else to help me." 

" The work has exhausted you, Ferleitner." 

" No ; on the :ontrary, I may almost say it has 
revived me. I'm sorry it is finished. I thought of 
nothing else; I forgot ever)'thing." 

His enthusiasm has consumed him, thought the 
monk. 

" Ferleitner, will you let me take it away with me 
for a few days ? " 

Conrad shyly gave permission. The monk 
gathered the sheet j together, and thrust them care- 
lessly into his pouch, so that the roll stuck out at the 
top. When he had gone, Conrad gazed sadly into 
emptiness and longed for his manuscript. How 
happy he had been with it all those weeks ! What 
would the priest think of it ? Everything would be 
wrong. Such people see their God with other eyes 
than ours. And if he crit'cised it, all the pleasure 
would go out of it. 

But Conrad did not have to do without it long. 
The father brought it back the next morning. He 
had begun to read it the evening before, and had sat 
up all night to finish it. But he would not give his 
opinion, and Conrad did not ask for it. Almost 
helplessly, they sat at the rough table, while the 
monk tried to think how he could express his 
thoughts. After a while, he took up the manuscript, 
laid It down again, and said that of course, from the 
ecclesiastical point of view, there would naturc.lly be 
some objections. 

"The details of the history are not altogether 
I know, Ferleitner, that you asked me for 



correct. 





fi 







320 A PRISONER'S STOKY 

ov nf the New Testament. K I had kno^ 
a copy 0^^^%^^^ f„ I would willingly ha 
that you had gone ^o^^^^ j^ jg better 

given vou one. But pcrnaps ^ 

l^u u I mimt tell you, Conrad Ferleitner, i 
LS hasTvenV » Uch p.e.ure ^^a 

toke a pleasure in finding them, 1°°^ f?' 'h'™- 
Uv'ng faith is the one ""?<-«" *'^f'h*': ," 

r^A •• 1 fee! your piety of soul is so profound, 
T^ J^ the'sacUent to you. Yes, Co, 

^r Thloriesfs words made him so happy. 
''TtenthlnC continued the father, after a P 
..th t oXrsU; are seeking for the s.mpk wo 
r^A, nnot find it, might read your book. 1 

nt; be many such people in hospitals, poor-h< 
Td prison'and es^cially those who are m 

:,tSo'n. Would you h- f ny o^fco: ,d. 

"My God, why should I? repiieo ^ 
this work o mine could be the help too h. 
:!::tcrsthatithasbee„tome. But d 

know-it was not meant for that i wro 

'" Na'raUy, one or two things must be al 
said tt father. "We would go through .t 

'°^t.f holy father," asked the prisoner wi: 
„ Jutif ;;ou think there wH be«me 

■• Above all, we must try and find a s 
Have you not thought that your child must 

?}> 




.4 r 



OF THE CROSS 



321 



I known 
jly have 
etter so. 
ner, that 
3r a long 
Iso say- 
hose who 
em. The 
the livin?; 
lere ! My 
prisoner's 
bund, that 
;s, Conrad, 

5, and wept 
liappy. 
ter a pause, 
ale worfl of 
)ok. There 
)Oor-hou.scs, 
ire in your 

)n?" 

onrad. " K 
3 othsr poor 
It I do not 
rrote it only 

be altered," 
ugh it again 

ler wistfully. 

suitable title. 
must have a 



•' I wrote the letters I.N.R.I. at the top." 

"It is rather out of the common. People won't 
know what to make of it. We must at least have a 
sab-title." 

"The title's a matter of absolute indifference to 
me," said Conrad : " perhaps you can find one." 

•• I will think it over. May I take the manuscript 
away again ? I must try and become literary in my 
old age. If a carpenter lad can write a whole book, 
surely a Franciscan monk can find a title ! Have 
you anything on your mind, my son ? No ? Then 
God be with you. I will come again soon." At the 
door he turned : " Tell me, my son, does the gaoler 
give you food enough ? " 

" Yes, more than I need." 

• • • f • 

Outside it was hot summer-time. Conrad knew 
nc "ng of it, he had not thought of it. The gaoler 
came with the permission that, as an exception, he 
would be allowed to walk for half an hour in the 
garden. Conrad felt quite indifferent. As the warder 
led him along the vaulted passage, he staggered 
slightly ; he had almost forgotten how to walk. He 
steadied himself on his companion's arm and said : 
" I feel so strange." 

" Hold on to me ; nothing will happen to you." 
" Are we going right out into the open ? " 
"From now, you will go for a short walk in the 
garden every day." 

" I do not know if I care to," said Conrad 
hesitating. " I am afraid— of the sun." 

They were out under the open sky, in the wide 
dazzling green light. Conrad stood still for a 
moment and covered his eyes with his hand, then 
he looked up, and covered them again, and began 

22 



322 



A PRISONER'S STORY 




Hi 




% 



I, * 



to tremble. The warder remained silent, and su| 
ported him as he tottered along under the shade 
the horse-chestnuts. On eiiner side stretched gret 
banks glowing with flowers and roses, their brig! 
colours quivering like flame blown by the win 
Above was the blue sky with the great burning su 
And all around he heard the songs of the birds. C 
life ! life ! He had almost forgotten what it meant— 
live I He groaned aloud, it might have been eith 
from sorrow or joy. Then he sat down on a ben 
and paused exhausted. He gazed out into t 
illimitable light. Tears trickled slowly down 1 
hollow cheeks. 

After a time the warder started to go on. Conr 
raised himself unsteadily, and they moved slow 
forward. They came to a white marble bust star 
ing on a stone pillar surrounded with flowers. 

Conrad stood still, shaded his eyes with his hai 
looked at the statue, and asked : " Who is that ? " 

" That is the king," answered the warder. 

Conrad gazed at it thoughtfully. And then 
said softly and much moved : " How kindly he kx 
at me I " 

" Yes, he is a kind master." 

Then joy slowly entered the heart of the p< 
sinner. The world is beautiful. People are go 
Life is everlasting. And the Heavenly Father reij 
over all. ... 

The warder looked at his watch. "It is time 

return." 

Conrad was taken back to his cell. He stumb 
over the threshold and knocked up against the tal 
it was so dark. But his heart rejoiced. The wc 
was beautiful. People were good. . . . 

Then, gradually, fear stole back upon him. 



OF THE CR088 303 

was tired and lay down for a little on the straw 
The key grated in the lock. Conrad startal to 
h.s feet ,n terror. What wa.s c.ming ? What was 
coming ? 

The father entered quickly and cheerfully. Swinrr- 
m.Lj the manuscript in his hand, he cried : " Glad 
tidmgs! Glad tidings!" 

Conrad's hands fluttered to his breast. '< Glad 
t.dmgs Ithadcomc? Life-to live again ?" So 
he cr.ed aloud. He stood for a moment motionless, 
then he sat down on the wooden bench. 

fhlllV'',K^T:'J^? '"''"'' continued. " Wc will call 
the book. Glad Tidings,' I.N.R.I. Glad tidings of a 

wen' TJ" -7^'' :"" ^"'* '^^ G-lx-'' ; that sounds 
well does ,t not?- He stopped and started- 
l^erleitner, what is the matter?" 
Conrad had fallen against the wall, his head sunk 

?! "T. ^""^ ""'''''' ^^"'^^ '■" his throat. The 
father reached quickly for the water-pitcher to revive 

h^t .n '^^J^^'':! ^'"^ Sood-naturedly for losing 

Then Z "^T J' r^ ^'''^'^ ^'' ^^'■^h^^^ tenderly 
eyes ',^"^*;^^^th- stillness of the breast and th^- 

Th' ?• ^"""^"^ '^^y '""^'^ ' "« shouted fur help 
and then said, softly : " It is well " 

Lfer L P ''°'' "' """"'"'• "°ly God ! •> 
i-ater, the Franciscan passed throuch the Ion,, 

passages thanking God sadly for the blefsed ^i ^f 

gov^e-^or^HetTf"'"^- ^' "^^ ^'''^ ""^ ""-'"he 
governor. Heavily, supporting each step by his 

wTnt' uo tr^ °"^- ^'''" "^ ^'^ 'he monk he 

night of it fIT r'^' /°" "■'■" ''"^ » heavy 
i. t 01 ,t Ferleitner the criminal will need a 



i: 



324 A PRISONER'S STORY OF THE CROSS 



priest To-morrow morning at six o'clock all will 
be over." 



m 



A short silence. Then the father answered : 
"Your Excellency, the criminal, Ferleitner, needs 
neither priest nor judge. He has been pardoned." 




THE END 



h 



UMWni BROTHERS, LUUTBD^ THB ORIWAII PSBB, WOXINO AND LONDON. 



ROSS 

11 will 



'ered : 
needs 
oned." 



N'DON. 




wsm